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Title: An investigation into rural-urban income disparities in post-reform China : a case study of Heilongjiang Province
Author: Gao, Y.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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This dissertation attempts to investigate income disparities between the rural and urban sectors of the provincial and lower levels in Heilongjiang Province by using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Unlike most studies on income disparity, this research avoids being a purely economic calculation by adding first-hand data from the interviews with the peasants and local cadres. It is also one of the few studies to examine the size of the income gap by estimating the overall Gini coefficients for Heilongjiang Province and one of the first attempts to study the composition of the income divide in this region by working out the Theil Index based on county level data. Findings confirm that, during the reform years the income disparities in Heilongjiang Province have been increasing, mainly due to the growing divide between the rural and urban sectors. In addition, the enlarged rural-urban income disparity is the result of the limited resource inflow into and great outflow out of the rural households. However, such resource flows at the micro level are deeply influenced by the national policies, which decide the overall resource movements between sectors. Meanwhile, the redirection of resources at the lower level is also subject to non-economic factors, such as local guanxi relationships. The central government has introduced polices aimed at increasing rural income since 2004, such as the removal of agricultural taxes. However, as agricultural tax and its affiliated charges had been the major source of local revenue, its abolition would definitely exacerbate the local finance difficulties and have an adverse effect on rural residents in terms of income and income-earning opportunities. The overall impact of the state’s pro-agricultural policies is far from clear now, and it is argued that with the institutions that keep the rural and urban sectors separated remaining unchanged, the influence of any pro-agricultural policies in reducing rural-urban income disparities will be severely limited.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available