Comparative Economic Studies

, Volume 56, Issue 1, pp 25–41 | Cite as

Individual Perceptions of Distributional Fairness in China

  • John A Bishop
  • Haiyong Liu
  • Zichong Qu
Article
  • 11 Downloads

Abstract

In the wake of China’s enormous success transitioning to a market economy there is a widely held belief among researchers and policymakers that the country’s income distribution has become excessively unfair. Previous authors have argued ‘the perception of inequality is one of the key elements of the attitudes toward reforms’. We hypothesize that reform ‘winners’ (educated, high income, higher ranking Party officials) will express less dissatisfaction with the current income distribution and reform ‘losers’ (less educated, lower income, lower ranking Party members) will express greater dissatisfaction with the current income distribution. To test this hypothesis we use two unique data sets, the 2002 Chinese Household Income Project and the World Values Survey. We find that the perception of unfairness is highly correlated with actual or perceived income, current prospects, attitude toward corruption, and status of Party membership.

Keywords

inequality fairness China 

References

  1. Alesina, A and Angeletos, G-M . 2005: Fairness and redistribution. The American Economic Review 95 (4): 960–980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chinese Household Income Project (CHIP). 2002: ICPSR21741-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, 2009-08-14. doi: 10.3886/ICPSR21741.v1.Google Scholar
  3. Greene, W . 2012: Econometric analysis, 7th Edition. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.Google Scholar
  4. Grosfeld, I and Senik, C . 2010: The emerging aversion to inequality: Evidence from subjective data. Economics of Transition 18 (1): 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Han, C and Whyte, MK . 2008: Popular attitudes toward distributive justice: Beijing and Warsaw compared. Journal of Chinese Political Science 13 (1): 29–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Han, C and Whyte, MK . 2009: The social contours of distributive injustice feelings in contemporary China. In: Davis, DS and Wang, F (eds) Creating Wealth and Poverty in Post-Socialist China. Stanford University Press: Palo Alto, CA. pp., 193–212.Google Scholar
  7. Hu, J . 2005: People’s Daily (Renmin Ribao), 27 June.Google Scholar
  8. Knight, J, Song, L and Gunaatilaka, R . 2009: Subjective well-being and its determinants in rural China. China Economic Review 20 (4): 635–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lee, HY . 2000: Xiagang, the Chinese style of laying off workers. Asian Survey 40 (6): 914–937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. National Bureau of Statistics of China. 2000: Chinese Urban Household Survey, Beijing, China.Google Scholar
  11. Riskin, C, Zhao, R and Li, S . 2002: China’s retreat from equality: Income distribution and economic transition. New York: Studies of the East Asian Institute, Columbia University.Google Scholar
  12. Sanfey, P and Teksoz, U . 2007: Does transition make you happy? Economics of Transition 15 (4): 707–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. The World Bank. 2012: China|Data|Economic Indicators. The World Bank, http://data.worldbank.org/country/china, accessed 23 February.
  14. The Xinhua News Agency. 2005: Widening income gap, the most serious social problem in China. People’s Daily Online. 9 July, http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200507/09/eng20050709_195106.html, accessed 23 Feburary 2012.
  15. Wang, F and Davis, DS . 2008: Creating wealth and poverty in postsocialist china. Stanford University Press: Palo Alto, CA.Google Scholar
  16. Whyte, M . 2010: Fair versus unfair: How do Chinese citizens view current inequalities? In: Oi, J, Rozelle, S and Zhou, X (eds) Growing Pains: Tensions and Opportunity in China’sTransformation. Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center: Stanford, CA.Google Scholar
  17. World Values Study Group. 2008: World values survey, 1995–2008. ICPSR: Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Comparative Economics 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A Bishop
    • 1
  • Haiyong Liu
    • 1
  • Zichong Qu
    • 2
  1. 1.East Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA
  2. 2.Georgia State University, Andrew Young School of Policy StudiesAtlantaUSA

Personalised recommendations