Income and Wealth Inequality in China

Yu Xie, Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Sociology and PIIRS, Princeton University
| Annenberg 111

In this presentation, Professor Xie reviews results from his research program on income and wealth inequality in contemporary China, drawing on newly available survey data collected by several Chinese university survey organizations.  He shows that income inequality has increased to high levels, and high wealth inequality has emerged.  He proposes three propositions: (1) inequality in China has been severely impacted by certain collective mechanisms, such as regions and work units; (2) traditional Chinese political ideology has promoted merit-based inequality, with merit being perceived as functional in improving the collective welfare for the masses; and (3) many Chinese people today regard inequality as an inevitable consequence of economic development.