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China's regional income disparity

Ding Lu ()

The Economics of Transition, 2008, vol. 16, issue 1, 31-58

Abstract: Using data on China's provincial economies for the period 1978-2005, we decomposed the causes and factors that have contributed to inter-regional per capita income disparity. Variance in capital per employee and variance in capital elasticity are found to be the two main sources of income disparity while the employment-labour force ratio is shown to be an important factor in containing the rise of income disparity. An analysis on inter-regional factor reallocation effects reveals their relatively small and insignificant contributions to overall growth performance. It is also discovered that capital has in most years flowed in the right direction to pursue higher marginal productivity across provincial economies. Inter-provincial labour movement, on the other hand, had not displayed significant equilibrating effects until institutional reforms started to allow freer inter-regional labour mobility in later years. Generally, we conclude that market-oriented factor mobility has played a crucial role in equalizing factor returns as well as enhancing growth efficiency across regions. Copyright (c) 2008 The Author Journal compilation (c) 2008 The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development .

Date: 2008
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