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Income Distribution and Economic Growth in China
|Issue Date:||2021-09-02 17:13:38 (UTC+8)|
最後，本文採用一般化動差法 (GMM) 估計所得分配與經濟成長之間的非直線性關係，實證結果顯示，中國所得分配與經濟成長存在多重門檻，分別為基尼係數0.225、0.315、及0.345。當基尼係數較低 (小於或等於0.225) 時，基尼係數每增加1％將使經濟成長降低0.27％；當基尼係數介於0.225與0.315之間時，基尼係數每增加1％將刺激經濟成長0.14％至0.15％；當基尼係數高於0.315或0.345時，基尼係數每增加1％將分別使經濟成長降低0.05％及0.38％。因此，不同的所得分配水準，對經濟成長將產生不同影響，過高或過低的所得不均對於經濟成長為負面影響，適度的所得不均將有助於刺激經濟成長。此外，經濟改革初期中國採取沿海省份優先的不平衡發展策略，實證結果顯示內陸地區與沿海地區所得不均程度對於經濟成長的影響不同，相較於內陸（較貧窮）地區，沿海（較富裕）地區所得不均過高或過低，對經濟成長的負面影響較不明顯。
Since the economic reforms in 1978, China’s economy has made remarkable achievement. However, the rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a sharp increase in income inequality. China as the fastest income-inequality increase of any large country over several decades. Inequality increase so fast in such a short time is quite unusual in the historical viewpoint, which has raised the social and political instability risk, and it is meaningful to study the relationship between income distribution and economic growth in China.
Data insufficiency is the main factor affecting research on income distribution in China, therefore, in this paper we firstly calculate each provincial Gini coefficients for urban, rural and all residents. The results show the each provincial Gini coefficients for all residents have always been higher than the each provincial Gini coefficients for rural residents and urban residents. Comparison of the different sources of Gini coefficients based on provincial data, the mean value of our urban Gini coefficients shows the same trend with other sources of urban and national Gini coefficients.
Second, this paper analyzes the factors affect China’s income inequality. We find that income inequality in China is not only driven by economic factors, but also effects by social factors, policy factors, and political factors. With respect to economic factors, high dependence on international trade and FDI, inflation, the increase of urban unemployment, technological progress, inequality in access to certain financial services, credit market underdevelopment, and the limited role of personal income tax and transfer payments to reduce income inequality all are likely to worsen income inequality in the process of economic growth.
As to social factors, income inequality is likely to worsen by China’s hukou-related urban biases policy, the public expenditures on education do not keep up with the GDP growth. Policy factors including China’s unbalanced regional development strategy at the early reform period, the limited role of the minimum wage regulation, social-security expenditures level remained lower than most of developed countries, those are unfavorable to narrow income inequality. Regarding to political factors, income inequality is likely to worsen by corruption, strong government intervention in SOEs, and authoritarian regime generates the opportunities to acquire illegal income.
In order to find out whether a threshold effect of income distribution on economic growth exists in China, this paper uses the generalized method of moments (GMM) estimator to test the nonlinear relationship between income distribution and economic growth in China. The empirical results show that there exists multiple income distribution thresholds at Gini coefficients of 0.225, 0.315, and 0.345. This implies that the effect of income distribution on national economic growth will change with different Gini coefficients. When the Gini coefficient is less than or equal to 0.225, a 1% increase in the Gini coefficient will impede economic growth by 0.27%; when it is between 0.225 and 0.315, a 1% increase in the Gini coefficient will stimulate economic growth by between 0.14% and 0.15%; and when it is higher than 0.315 or 0.345, a 1% increase in the Gini coefficient will reduce economic growth by 0.05% and 0.38%, respectively. These findings indicate that low or high income inequality in China will harm economic growth, and that moderate income inequality will benefit economic growth. In addition, in comparison with inland (poorer) regions, we find that the detrimental impact of inequality on growth is less pronounced at low or high income inequality levels in the coastal (richer) regions.
In China, the increase in inequality from a low level provides enhanced incentives for growth. However, the trend in income inequality has not significantly reversed with rapid economic growth, and a sustained increase in income inequality will hamper further growth. From the policy point of view, China’s government should focus its efforts on sharing the fruits of growth in the coastal regions with the less-developed inland regions, put more emphasis on the accumulation of human capital, and further improve relevant institutions and policies to reduce the high income inequality in favor of sustained economic growth.
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