©2018 Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
China & World Economy / 50–67, Vol. 26, No. 2, 2018
*Guanghua Wan, Professor, School of Economics, Chongqing Technology and Business University, China.
Email: email@example.com; Chen Wang, Assistant Professor, School of Urban and Regional Science,
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, China. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Hua Yin,
Assistant Professor, School of Shanghai Development, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, China.
Email: email@example.com; Yan Zhang (corresponding author), Specially-Appointed Professor, School
of Economics, Chongqing Technology and Business University, China. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The
authors gratefully acknowledge nancial support from the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71703088)
and Shanghai Pujiang Program (No. 17PJC045).
From Equality of Deprivation to Disparity of Prosperity:
The Poverty–Growth–Inequality Triangle in
Guanghua Wan, Chen Wang, Hua Yin, Yan Zhang*
In the post-reform era, China achieved poverty reduction that was unprecedented in
human history This poverty reduction was accompanied by fast growth and worsening
income distribution. The present paper examines the poverty–growth–inequality triangle
in China by: (i) providing growth, inequality and poverty proles at the national and
provincial levels; (ii) uncovering the contributions of growth and inequality changes
to poverty reduction; and, nally, (iii) drawing lessons for other developing countries.
Based on the World Bank’s denition of the poverty line, China has already eliminated
abject poverty, even though the poverty rate was as high as 88.3 percent in 1981. The
remarkable record in poverty reduction is predominantly attributable to growth. The
effect of inequality varied in different periods. In addition, the impact of growth on
poverty reduction is found to be diminishing over time, a phenomenon worth further
research and policy attention.
Key words: China, income distribution, poverty-growth-inequality triangle
JEL codes: O1, P25, R1
In 1978, China was one of the poorest countries in the world, with an average GDP per
capita of RMB423.2, or approximately US$184.0 based on the ofcial exchange rate.
Based on the World Bank’s denition of the poverty line of US$1.90 (2011 purchasing