“Two Chinas”: Social Equity, Social Policies, and the Urban-Rural Divide in China



Zhou and Zhu offer an overview of how the concept of social equity has evolved in Chinese social policies since 1949. Social equity was once at the heart of China’s command economy. When China started market economic reforms in the 1980s, social equity gave way to economic efficiency. Despite the changing priorities given to social equity, persistent social inequity exists between the urban and rural areas, which resulted in “two Chinas” in many social policy areas like health care, education, and social welfare. The authors attribute this phenomenon to economic and institutional factors in China. The economic factors associated with industrialization drive China to give greater weight to economic efficiency than social equity, and institutional factors enable China to enact policies favorable to particular groups.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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