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Cultural heterogeneity, social policy, and economic growth in China

Kai Liu, Jidong Yang and Hongwei Zou

China Economic Review, 2020, vol. 62, issue C

Abstract: By using World Values Survey (WVS) data and other datasets, this paper measures the heterogeneity of Chinese residents' values and explores the relationships among cultural diversity, economic growth, and social policy in China. The study finds that, from 1990 to 2013, there was an overall rise in the value heterogeneity of Chinese residents, and cultural heterogeneity is mainly driven by within-group rather than between-group heterogeneity. Groups of residents with higher levels of income and education seem to have a lower degree of value heterogeneity. Panel-data regressions show that cultural heterogeneity is negatively correlated with provincial economic growth, and positively correlated with social conflict. Although social policies cannot directly affect cultural diversity itself, they may impact the way that cultural heterogeneity influences economic and social outcomes. In provinces with relatively low fiscal expenditures on education, cultural diversity has a stronger negative effect on GDP growth and a larger positive effect on social conflict. A social policy that boosts social security expenditures could also weaken the positive effect of cultural diversity on social conflict.

Keywords: Cultural heterogeneity; Economic growth; Social conflict; Social policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J16 J17 H55 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2020.101501

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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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