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The Iron Rice Bowl: Chinese Living Standards 1952–1978

Lein-Lein Chen and John Devereux ()
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Lein-Lein Chen: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
John Devereux: Queens College, CUNY

Comparative Economic Studies, 2017, vol. 59, issue 3, 261-310

Abstract: Abstract We examine the evolution of Chinese living standards, as measured by household consumption, for the first three decades of communist rule. We find only a slow improvement. Certainly, the Chinese were better clothed; more urbanized and had more household goods after 1949. On the other hand, consumption of food and housing stagnated. We find that overall consumption per capita did not surpass the 1930’s until the late 1960’s. We also compare the Chinese record under Mao Zedong to other economies. As it turns out, Chinese living standards improved at a slower rate than elsewhere.

Keywords: growth; living standards; planning (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N25 P20 P24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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