China's (Uneven) Progress Against Poverty

62 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Shaohua Chen

Shaohua Chen

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: September 1, 2004


While the incidence of extreme poverty in China fell dramatically over 1980-2001, progress was uneven over time and across provinces. Rural areas accounted for the bulk of the gains to the poor, though migration to urban areas helped. The pattern of growth mattered. Rural economic growth was far more important to national poverty reduction than urban economic growth. Agriculture played a far more important role than the secondary or tertiary sources of gross domestic product (GDP). Rising inequality within the rural sector greatly slowed poverty reduction. Provinces starting with relatively high inequality saw slower progress against poverty, due both to lower growth and a lower growth elasticity of poverty reduction. Taxation of farmers and inflation hurt the poor. External trade had little short-term impact.

Keywords: Governance Indicators, Public Health Promotion, Poverty Assessment, Services & Transfers to Poor, Environmental Economics & Policies, Economic Conditions and Volatility, Poverty Impact Evaluation, Achieving Shared Growth, Safety Nets and Transfers

Suggested Citation

Chen, Shaohua, China's (Uneven) Progress Against Poverty (September 1, 2004). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3408, Available at SSRN:

Shaohua Chen (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

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Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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