Intertemporal deprivation in rural china: income and nutrition

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Sangui Wang.

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You, J., Wang, S. & Roope, L. Intertemporal deprivation in rural china: income and nutrition. J Econ Inequal 16, 61–101 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10888-017-9352-z

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Keywords

  • Intertemporal poverty
  • Multi-dimensional poverty
  • Rural China