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Are poverty rates underestimated in China? New evidence from four recent surveys

Publication Abstract

Zhang, Chunni, Qi Xu, Xiang Zhou, Xiaobo Zhang, and Yu Xie. 2014. "Are poverty rates underestimated in China? New evidence from four recent surveys." China Economic Review, 31: 410-425.

Knowledge of poverty prevalence is essential for any society concerned with improving public welfare and reducing poverty. In this paper, we estimate and compare poverty incidence rates in China using four nationally representative surveys: the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS) of 2010, the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) of 2010, the China Household Finance Survey (CHFS) of 2011, and the Chinese Household Income Project (CHIP) of 2007. Using both international and official domestic poverty standards, we show that poverty rates at the national, rural, and urban levels based on the CFPS, CGSS, and the CHFS are all much higher than the official estimates and those based on the CHIP. This study highlights the importance of using independent datasets to verify official statistics of public and policy concern in contemporary China. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

DOI:10.1016/j.chieco.2014.05.017 (Full Text)

Country of focus: China.

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