Influence of Social Institutions on Inequality in China

Discussion Papers


by UCHIMURA Hiroko

April 2005


This study analyses the impact of changes in social institutions, i.e. in the informal and formal social security system, on income inequality in China. This study uses an inequality decomposition analysis approach comparing household survey data for 1988 with 1995.Three main results emerge from the analysis: first, it findsthat the family based social security is losing its importance mainly through the changes in employment pattern in a household. This change contributes to rising income inequality. Second, thestudy shows that the introduction of new formal social security system helped to equalise the distribution of retired household members' income in urban areas in 1995. Third, however, these changes have only benefited a restricted number of persons. Benefits for rural migrants are low and most of the rural population has still no access to the new system.

Keywords: China, Income Inequality, Social Institutions, Family, Social Security
JEL classification: D31, O15, P20

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