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Capital Accumulation, Private Property, and Rising Inequality in China, 1978–2015

Thomas Piketty, Li Yang and Gabriel Zucman

American Economic Review, 2019, vol. 109, issue 7, 2469-96

Abstract: We combine national accounts, surveys, and new tax data to study the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in China from 1978 to 2015. The national wealth-income ratio increased from 350 percent in 1978 to 700 percent in 2015, while the share of public property in national wealth declined from 70 percent to 30 percent. We provide sharp upward revision of official inequality estimates. The top 10 percent income share rose from 27 percent to 41 percent between 1978 and 2015; the bottom 50 percent share dropped from 27 percent to 15 percent. China's inequality levels used to be close to Nordic countries and are now approaching US levels.

JEL-codes: D31 E01 E23 O11 P24 P26 P36 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20170973
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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:109:y:2019:i:7:p:2469-96