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Consumption inequality and its evolution in urban China

Da Zhao, Tianhao Wu and Qiwei He

China Economic Review, 2017, vol. 46, issue C, 208-228

Abstract: Exploiting the variations in household income and consumption structure, this paper corrects the measurement errors of consumption expenditure reported by households in different income classes. By using the Urban Household Survey (UHS) data, empirical results demonstrate that consumption inequality in urban China increased by 67% during the sample period and it was much larger than 36%, which was obtained directly from the reported raw data. Precisely, from 1993 to 2007, the consumption inequality experienced a rapid increase, but began to decrease after 2008. Since 2002, underreporting of consumption expenditure was more evident for households with higher income. Furthermore, the consumption inequality in central and western regions, and that of the households with higher education levels were more serious and constituted important driving forces for the increase of consumption inequality.

Keywords: Consumption inequality; Engel curve; Corrections of measurement errors (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C33 D31 E21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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