China has experienced a long-term rise in income inequality in the first three decades of economic transition. It is debatable whether income inequality continued to increase in the last decade, but there is no doubt that China’s wealth distribution has been widening since the beginning of the new century. The presentation illustrates and analyses the current income and wealth inequalities using the 2002, 2013, and 2018 waves of data from the China Household Income Project (CHIP). The main findings are 1) income inequality continued to increase in the last decade if top income samples are Incorporated; 2) wealth inequality increased more rapidly since 2000; 3) income inequality and wealth inequality have become more interrelated and mutually enforced; and 4) weak redistribution policy is one of the main reasons why China has encountered a high-level income inequality and rapid rise in wealth inequality.
Speaker: Li Shi, Professor of Economics, Zhejiang University and Beijing Normal University, China
Discussant: Carl Riskin, Senior Research Scholar and Adjunct Professor of Economics, Weatherhead East Asian Institute; Distinguished Professor, CUNY Queens College
Moderator: Qin Gao, Professor and Director of China Center for Social Policy, Columbia School of Social Work