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Poverty and Inequality and Social Policy in China
Bingqin Li and David Piachaud
November 2004
Paper No' CASE 087:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: I3

Tags: poverty; inequality; social policy; china; livelihoods; social development

Despite prolonged economic growth, poverty has become a more notable and noted feature of Chinese society. The paper examines three phases of development since the foundation of the People’s Republic: the central planning era (1949 –1978); the pro-urban growth model (1978 – 1999); and more recent changes (1999 – 2004). For each phase the nature of the economic and social policies are described and the effects on poverty and inequality are examined. The limitations of a social policy that is subservient to the economic strategy are considered. The alternative of a model of social development based on the livelihood approach is analysed and its potential to reduce poverty and inequality are considered.