The Journal of Economic Inequality

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 61–101 | Cite as

Intertemporal deprivation in rural china: income and nutrition

  • Jing You
  • Sangui WangEmail author
  • Laurence Roope
Open Access


We analyse intertemporal poverty in two important dimensions – income and nutrition – in less developed northwest China during 2000–2004. Household intertemporal deprivations in these dimensions are estimated using measures which are sensitive to the precise sequence in which poor and non-poor spells occur. A generalised recursive selection model is then proposed to investigate the determinants of intertemporal deprivation in each dimension, allowing for the possibility that correlated unobservables drive the dual deprivations. Improvement in agricultural production is crucial for reducing both dimensions of intertemporal deprivation. We find evidence suggestive of intertemporal income-nutrition poverty traps. Higher labour productivity, especially in agriculture rather than local off-farm activities or out-migration, holds much potential for breaking the vicious circle. Agricultural innovation and mechanisation, regarded by the government as indispensable, yield mixed outcomes for alleviating intertemporal multi-dimensional deprivations.


Intertemporal poverty Multi-dimensional poverty Rural China 



The authors are extremely grateful to Stephan Klasen and Christophe Muller, for helpful comments on an earlier draft. The paper has also benefitted from helpful discussions with a number of participants at the International Conference “Poverty, Equity, and Growth in Developing and Transition Countries”, held jointly by the Courant Research Center and the Ibero-America Institute of Economic Research, at the University of Göttingen during 2–4 July 2014, and the Annual Conference of the Chinese Economic Association (Europe) held during 1–2 September 2014 at the University of Göthenburg. The usual caveats, of course, apply. Finally, we wish to gratefully acknowledge generous financial support by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 71403282 and 71673283) and the National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 15ZDC026).

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agricultural Economics and Rural DevelopmentRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  2. 2.China Anti-Poverty Research InstituteRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina
  3. 3.Health Economics Research Centre, Nuffield Department of Population HealthUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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