In the last four decades, especially the last two, China’s integration into the global economy has created one of the greatest and most transformative economic miracles in human history. China is now basking under an age of abundance. Among the important factors that have led to China’s economic miracle, is its population change. China’s growth has also been accompanied by an unprecedented rise in economic and increasingly social inequality. Using an economic life-cycle approach, this talk examines changes in labor income and consumption over the life cycle, and in the country’s lifecycle surplus over the last decade, which is still quite sizable now but has started to slow down in its growth rate. Rapid population aging and persistent inequalities are two major headwinds that are likely to contribute to the ending of this age of abundance.
About the Speaker:
As a leading expert on demography, aging, and inequality, Wang Feng is Professor of Sociology at University of California, Irvine and Professor (invited) at Fudan University, Shanghai. He was a Nonresident Senior Fellow at Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy (2013-2016), Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution (2010-2013), Professor at Tsinghua University (2011-2013) and Invited Visiting Professor at Keio University, Japan. Dr. Wang’s research focuses on social inequality in post-socialist societies, global demographic change and consequences and migration and social reintegration in China. Dr. Wang is the author of multiple award-winning books and is a contributor to leading global media outlets. Dr. Wang’s work has been supported by various funding sources such as Pacific Rim Research Program, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies.
This lecture is part of the 2019-2020 annual lecture series on "Using Scientific Evidence to Address Social Challenges in China" cosponsored by the Columbia China Center for Social Policy and Weatherhead East Asian Institute and supported by the Columbia School of Social Work.