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China’s Income Disparity and Industrial Policies – The Case of the Yangtze River Delta Region / 中国收入差距问题与产业政策制定——以长三角地区为例


Author: Zhou Yue
Date: November 13, 2013

China’s Income Disparity and Industrial Policies – The Case of the Yangtze River Delta Region

A widening income gap is not only a significant problem in the economically developed United States, but also in fast-growing economies like China. Although the Gini coefficient is not officially recorded in China, research shows that this figure has already exceeded the international warning line and has reached an alarming level of social instability. Because the income disparity problem has disturbed China’s social outlook, the Chinese government is highly likely to implement relevant policies to check the trend. Thus, our prediction of future industrial policies is correlated with future development and investment opportunities of medium and small enterprises.

According to past research, urban-rural income inequality contributes about 80% to the total income gap. Therefore, urban-rural income disparity leads to the major social contradictions in the income distribution issue. Through analysis of data for the past eleven years in the Yangtze River Delta region, economist Simon Kuznets suggests that there would be a widening income gap at the initial stage of development that would narrow at later stages. Statistics also suggest that despite the increasing trends in urban-rural income gap from 1.4 to 1.5 since 2000 in the Yangtze River Delta region, a turning point has come up around 2011 and the ratio has remained stable since then. This possibly demonstrates that the economy in the Yangtze River Delta region has stepped into a new stage and the industrial structure would most likely change in the near future.

There are several important factors that affect urban-rural income inequality, including secondary and tertiary industries, urbanization, educational opportunities, and social security. Among these factors, the impact of the secondary and tertiary industries on income disparity is directly concerned with the development opportunities of medium and small enterprises.

China’s secondary industry is mainly gathered by light industries, as its development can not only drive the urbanization process but also accommodate large amount of surplus rural labor as well. Because of this, the development of light industries is always a useful method for narrowing income disparity. However, with the gradual disappearance of the “demographic bonus” in China, the transfer of light industries to countries in Southeast Asia seems inevitable. If the government wants to solve the issue of rural labor transfer via the secondary industry, industrial upgrading will happen. When the income gap narrows through light to heavy industry transformation, the effect is accompanied by the need for an enhancement of labor skills, which is a time-consuming process. However, the target that the Chinese government has been striving for is urbanization, which accompanies the development of the secondary industry. Therefore, the relevant opportunities resulting from the real estate industry will bring much potential for the medium and small enterprises in the coming thirty years or so.

The tertiary industry is likely to become a key driver of development in the future as it has strong potential to attract employment. Compared with developed economies, the tertiary industry in China seems to be far from developed. Most fields in the tertiary industry, such as the financial industry, the consulting industry, and the information technology industry, demands highly qualified people that the rural labor normally cannot meet. At the same time, the aggregation effect of capital and resources in this industry makes the advantages of metropolises more obvious than others. Although the development of the tertiary industry is in agreement with the national development path, the government cannot avoid its income widening effect. If the government wishes to realize balanced development in the disadvantaged rural regions, policy preferences and inclinations are sure to be followed. By this, small and medium enterprises can seek opportunities in cooperation with the government for a win-win situation in regions where high-end services are relatively weak. Moreover, from the theoretical perspective, despite the fact that the tertiary industry can solve the employment matter, the present condition is far from ideal, because many job opportunities such as education and healthcare are in a large extent restricted to resident permits. Because of this, if the government decides to open certain monopolized fields, the number of jobs that the flexible small and medium enterprises would create will become a breakthrough for the income disparity issue.

While a larger service sector has the potential to widen the income gap, the government hopes that rather than widen that gap it will help in boosting development and allow jobs to open up for employees in the manufacturing industry seeking higher wages. Furthermore, in the long run, the service industry may receive much more attention from the government via its accommodation of labor and enhancement of soft power. There is much potential lying in future rural services, heavy manufacturing, and urbanization of peripheral fields for enterprises, where common interests with the Chinese government can be easily found.

Writer: Zhou Yue, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’13

作者:周悦
2013年11月13号

中国收入差距问题与产业政策制定——以长三角地区为例

收入差距扩大问题不仅在经济发达的美国存在着,它也同样困扰着像中国一样的在快速发展的经济体。尽管国际上通常用于衡量收入差距的基尼系数并不会通过中国官方公布,众多研究分析表明这一数据已经超出了可能会导致社会不安定的国际警戒线。目前收入不平等问题已经影响到了中国的社会情绪,政府很可能制定相应的政策以遏制这一趋势。因而,对于未来产业政策方向的把握也关系到中小企业未来发展和投资的机会所在。

根据已有研究发现,城乡间的收入不平等对总体收入差距有80%的贡献率,因而城乡收入差距是社会主要矛盾所在。而笔者对长三角地区过去十一年的数据分析后推测,城乡间收入差距的变化存在着一定的规律性。具体而言,这一变化趋势与库兹涅茨提出的倒U型假说较为吻合,即收入差距在经济增长初期有逐渐扩大的趋势,但随着经济发展日趋成熟,这一差距会逐渐缩小。数据研究还发现,虽然自2000年起,江浙沪一带的城乡收入差距从约1.4~1.5一直上升到最近的2.0左右,但在2011年左右出现了转折,且目前这一比例基本保持平稳。这很可能预示着长三角一带的经济发展已经进入一个新的阶段,产业结构在未来也会进入调整期。

关于可能影响到城乡间收入差距的几个重要因素,主要集中在第二产业、第三产业、城市化、教育机会和社会保障等方面,其中第二产业和第三产业对收入不均的影响会直接关系到中小企业的发展机会。

中国的第二产业主要集中在轻工业。该产业的发展不仅带动城镇化,而且容纳了大量的农村富余劳动力,因而在过去,发展轻工业一直是缩小贫富差距的有效办法。然而随着中国人口红利的逐步消失,轻工业的向外转移不可避免。政府要想继续依靠第二产业解决农村劳动力转移问题,必然需要进行产业升级,而轻工业向重工业转型的过程如果要起到缩小城乡差距的作用,就需要农村劳动者相应技能的提高,这在短时间内存在较大困难。而伴随第二产业发生的城镇化是中国政府一直努力实现的目标,这一过程给房地产相关行业所带来的市场会给中小企业在未来三十年内提供较多机会。

除此以外,第三产业或许会凭借其强大的就业容纳能力成为今后发展的重点领域。作为发达经济体占比最高的产业,我国第三产业似乎离充分发展还有较远距离。目前第三产业的很多领域,比如金融业、咨询业和信息技术业等高端服务业所需要的技能是大多数农村劳动者无法满足的,同时这些领域对于资本和资源的聚集作用也使得优势效应在大城市显得更为突出。尽管这种现象表明第三产业发展虽然与中国的经济发展方向相一致,但是其对收入差距的扩大效应却是政府不得不应对的。那些相对弱势的农村地区若想得到充分发展,政策性的倾斜或优惠几乎是必须的。而中小企业或许可以根据这一判断寻找高端服务业较为薄弱的地区与政府获取合作机会以实现共赢。再者,第三产业尽管理论上可以解决就业问题,但在目前,这个判断并不完全真实,因为很多岗位如教育、医疗等很大程度上还受限于户籍制度。关于这些,政府若放开个别领域的垄断地位,活跃的中小企业所创造的就业也会是以后解决收入差距问题的有效突破口。

虽然服务业发展会拉开收入差距,但其为制造业所提供的配套服务会促进制造业的发展与转型,从另一个方面解决就业问题,这是政府所乐意看到的。不仅如此,服务业在长期也很可能会因为对总体就业的容纳作用、对经济软实力的提升作用而受到政府的较大重视。总之,中小企业在未来中国乡镇服务业、重工业以及城市化配套领域会有很多机会,并且也较容易与中国政府找到利益共同点。

作者:周悦,中美中心国际关系硕士2013

Author: Zhou Yue
Date: November 13, 2013

China’s Income Disparity and Industrial Policies – The Case of the Yangtze River Delta Region

A widening income gap is not only a significant problem in the economically developed United States, but also in fast-growing economies like China. Although the Gini coefficient is not officially recorded in China, research shows that this figure has already exceeded the international warning line and has reached an alarming level of social instability. Because the income disparity problem has disturbed China’s social outlook, the Chinese government is highly likely to implement relevant policies to check the trend. Thus, our prediction of future industrial policies is correlated with future development and investment opportunities of medium and small enterprises.

According to past research, urban-rural income inequality contributes about 80% to the total income gap. Therefore, urban-rural income disparity leads to the major social contradictions in the income distribution issue. Through analysis of data for the past eleven years in the Yangtze River Delta region, economist Simon Kuznets suggests that there would be a widening income gap at the initial stage of development that would narrow at later stages. Statistics also suggest that despite the increasing trends in urban-rural income gap from 1.4 to 1.5 since 2000 in the Yangtze River Delta region, a turning point has come up around 2011 and the ratio has remained stable since then. This possibly demonstrates that the economy in the Yangtze River Delta region has stepped into a new stage and the industrial structure would most likely change in the near future.

There are several important factors that affect urban-rural income inequality, including secondary and tertiary industries, urbanization, educational opportunities, and social security. Among these factors, the impact of the secondary and tertiary industries on income disparity is directly concerned with the development opportunities of medium and small enterprises.

China’s secondary industry is mainly gathered by light industries, as its development can not only drive the urbanization process but also accommodate large amount of surplus rural labor as well. Because of this, the development of light industries is always a useful method for narrowing income disparity. However, with the gradual disappearance of the “demographic bonus” in China, the transfer of light industries to countries in Southeast Asia seems inevitable. If the government wants to solve the issue of rural labor transfer via the secondary industry, industrial upgrading will happen. When the income gap narrows through light to heavy industry transformation, the effect is accompanied by the need for an enhancement of labor skills, which is a time-consuming process. However, the target that the Chinese government has been striving for is urbanization, which accompanies the development of the secondary industry. Therefore, the relevant opportunities resulting from the real estate industry will bring much potential for the medium and small enterprises in the coming thirty years or so.

The tertiary industry is likely to become a key driver of development in the future as it has strong potential to attract employment. Compared with developed economies, the tertiary industry in China seems to be far from developed. Most fields in the tertiary industry, such as the financial industry, the consulting industry, and the information technology industry, demands highly qualified people that the rural labor normally cannot meet. At the same time, the aggregation effect of capital and resources in this industry makes the advantages of metropolises more obvious than others. Although the development of the tertiary industry is in agreement with the national development path, the government cannot avoid its income widening effect. If the government wishes to realize balanced development in the disadvantaged rural regions, policy preferences and inclinations are sure to be followed. By this, small and medium enterprises can seek opportunities in cooperation with the government for a win-win situation in regions where high-end services are relatively weak. Moreover, from the theoretical perspective, despite the fact that the tertiary industry can solve the employment matter, the present condition is far from ideal, because many job opportunities such as education and healthcare are in a large extent restricted to resident permits. Because of this, if the government decides to open certain monopolized fields, the number of jobs that the flexible small and medium enterprises would create will become a breakthrough for the income disparity issue.

While a larger service sector has the potential to widen the income gap, the government hopes that rather than widen that gap it will help in boosting development and allow jobs to open up for employees in the manufacturing industry seeking higher wages. Furthermore, in the long run, the service industry may receive much more attention from the government via its accommodation of labor and enhancement of soft power. There is much potential lying in future rural services, heavy manufacturing, and urbanization of peripheral fields for enterprises, where common interests with the Chinese government can be easily found.

Writer: Zhou Yue, Hopkins Nanjing Center MA ’13


作者:周悦
2013年10月13号

中国收入差距问题与产业政策制定——以长三角地区为例

收入差距扩大问题不仅在经济发达的美国存在着,它也同样困扰着像中国一样的在快速发展的经济体。尽管国际上通常用于衡量收入差距的基尼系数并不会通过中国官方公布,众多研究分析表明这一数据已经超出了可能会导致社会不安定的国际警戒线。目前收入不平等问题已经影响到了中国的社会情绪,政府很可能制定相应的政策以遏制这一趋势。因而,对于未来产业政策方向的把握也关系到中小企业未来发展和投资的机会所在。

根据已有研究发现,城乡间的收入不平等对总体收入差距有80%的贡献率,因而城乡收入差距是社会主要矛盾所在。而笔者对长三角地区过去十一年的数据分析后推测,城乡间收入差距的变化存在着一定的规律性。具体而言,这一变化趋势与库兹涅茨提出的倒U型假说较为吻合,即收入差距在经济增长初期有逐渐扩大的趋势,但随着经济发展日趋成熟,这一差距会逐渐缩小。数据研究还发现,虽然自2000年起,江浙沪一带的城乡收入差距从约1.4~1.5一直上升到最近的2.0左右,但在2011年左右出现了转折,且目前这一比例基本保持平稳。这很可能预示着长三角一带的经济发展已经进入一个新的阶段,产业结构在未来也会进入调整期。

关于可能影响到城乡间收入差距的几个重要因素,主要集中在第二产业、第三产业、城市化、教育机会和社会保障等方面,其中第二产业和第三产业对收入不均的影响会直接关系到中小企业的发展机会。

中国的第二产业主要集中在轻工业。该产业的发展不仅带动城镇化,而且容纳了大量的农村富余劳动力,因而在过去,发展轻工业一直是缩小贫富差距的有效办法。然而随着中国人口红利的逐步消失,轻工业的向外转移不可避免。政府要想继续依靠第二产业解决农村劳动力转移问题,必然需要进行产业升级,而轻工业向重工业转型的过程如果要起到缩小城乡差距的作用,就需要农村劳动者相应技能的提高,这在短时间内存在较大困难。而伴随第二产业发生的城镇化是中国政府一直努力实现的目标,这一过程给房地产相关行业所带来的市场会给中小企业在未来三十年内提供较多机会。

除此以外,第三产业或许会凭借其强大的就业容纳能力成为今后发展的重点领域。作为发达经济体占比最高的产业,我国第三产业似乎离充分发展还有较远距离。目前第三产业的很多领域,比如金融业、咨询业和信息技术业等高端服务业所需要的技能是大多数农村劳动者无法满足的,同时这些领域对于资本和资源的聚集作用也使得优势效应在大城市显得更为突出。尽管这种现象表明第三产业发展虽然与中国的经济发展方向相一致,但是其对收入差距的扩大效应却是政府不得不应对的。那些相对弱势的农村地区若想得到充分发展,政策性的倾斜或优惠几乎是必须的。而中小企业或许可以根据这一判断寻找高端服务业较为薄弱的地区与政府获取合作机会以实现共赢。再者,第三产业尽管理论上可以解决就业问题,但在目前,这个判断并不完全真实,因为很多岗位如教育、医疗等很大程度上还受限于户籍制度。关于这些,政府若放开个别领域的垄断地位,活跃的中小企业所创造的就业也会是以后解决收入差距问题的有效突破口。

虽然服务业发展会拉开收入差距,但其为制造业所提供的配套服务会促进制造业的发展与转型,从另一个方面解决就业问题,这是政府所乐意看到的。不仅如此,服务业在长期也很可能会因为对总体就业的容纳作用、对经济软实力的提升作用而受到政府的较大重视。总之,中小企业在未来中国乡镇服务业、重工业以及城市化配套领域会有很多机会,并且也较容易与中国政府找到利益共同点。

作者:周悦,中美中心国际关系硕士2013

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