Capital Accumulation, Private Property and Rising Inequality in China, 1978–2015
- American Economic Review (Forthcoming)
We combine national accounts, surveys, and new tax data to study the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in China from 1978 to 2015. The national wealth-income ratio increased from 350% in 1978 to 700% in 2015, while the share of public property in national wealth declined from 70% to 30%. We provide sharp upward revision of official inequality estimates. The top 10% income share rose from 27% to 41% between 1978 and 2015; the bottom 50% share dropped from 27% to 15%. China’s inequality levels used to be close to Nordic countries and are now approaching U.S. levels.
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