Journal articles published externally

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These are journal articles by World Bank authors published externally.

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The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Off-Farm Employment and Earnings in Rural China

2011, Huang, Jikun, Zhi, Huayong, Huang, Zhurong, Rozelle, Scott, Giles, John

This paper examines the effect of the financial crisis on off-farm employment of China's rural labor force. Using a national representative dataset, we find that there was a large impact. By April 2009 off-farm employment reached 6.8% of the rural labor force. Monthly earnings also declined. However, while we estimate that 49 million were laid-off between October 2008 and April 2009, half of them were re-hired in off-farm work by April 2009. By August 2009, less than 2% of the rural labor force was unemployed due to the crisis. The robust recovery appears to have helped avoid instability.

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Chronic and Transient Poverty: Measurement and Estimation, with Evidence from China

2010, Duclos, Jean-Yves, Araar, Abdelkrim, Giles, John

The paper contributes to the measurement of poverty and vulnerability in three ways. First, it proposes a new approach to separating poverty into chronic and transient components. Second, it provides corrections for the statistical biases introduced when using a small number of periods to estimate the importance of vulnerability and transient poverty. Third, it applies these tools to the measurement of chronic and transient poverty in China using a rich panel data set that extends over 17 years. Alternative measurement techniques are found to yield significantly different estimates of the relative importance of chronic and transient poverty. The precision of the estimates is also considerably enhanced by simple statistical corrections.

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Urbanization and Urban-Rural Inequality in China: A New Perspective from the Government's Development Strategy

2011, Lin, Justin Yifu

This paper offers a novel explanation for the lower urbanization rate and great urban-rural inequality in China. Our study reveals that, heavy-industry-oriented development strategy will result in lower urbanization rate and higher urban-rural inequality. The greater the degree of heavy-industry-oriented development strategy is, the lower the urbanization rate is, and the higher the urban-rural inequality is. From a dynamic perspective, heavy-industry-oriented development strategy reduces the capital accumulation rate, which results in a slower progress of urbanization and a highly persistent urban-rural inequality. The higher the degree of heavy-industry-oriented development strategy, the slower the progress of urbanization, and the longer the urban-rural inequality will last. This mechanism can potentially explain the lower urbanization rate and higher urban-rural inequality in China under a unified framework.

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The Developing World's Bulging (but Vulnerable) Middle Class

2010, Ravallion, Martin

Western notions of the 'middle class' are of little obvious relevance to developing countries. Instead, the middle class is identified here as those living above the median poverty line of developing countries, even if still poor by rich-country standards. Over 1990-2005, economic growth and global distributional shifts allowed an extra 1.2 billion people to join the developing world's middle class. Four-fifths came from Asia, and half from China. Many of those in this new middle class remain fairly close to poverty. Only 100 million of the 1.2 billion would not be considered poor in any developing county. Economic growth typically came with an expanding middle class.

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The Impact of Migration on Rural Poverty and Inequality : A Case Study in China

2010, Zhu, Nong, Luo, Xubei

Large numbers of agricultural labor moved from the countryside to cities after the economic reforms in China. Migration and remittances play an important role in transforming the structure of rural household income. This article examines the impact of rural-to-urban migration on rural poverty and inequality in a mountainous area of Hubei province using the data of a 2002 household survey. Since migration income is a potential substitute for farm income, we present counterfactual scenarios of what rural income, poverty, and inequality would have been in the absence of migration. Our results show that, by providing alternatives to households with lower marginal labor productivity in agriculture, migration leads to an increase in rural income. In contrast to many studies that suggest that the increasing share of nonfarm income in total income widens inequality, this article offers support for the hypothesis that migration tends to have egalitarian effects on rural income for three reasons: (1) migration is rational self-selection--farmers with higher expected return in agricultural activities and/or in local nonfarm activities choose to remain in the countryside while those with higher expected return in urban nonfarm sectors migrate; (2) households facing binding constraints of land supply are more likely to migrate; (3) poorer households benefit disproportionately from migration.