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Debates on the Measurement of Global Poverty$
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Sudhir Anand, Paul Segal, and Joseph E. Stiglitz

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558032

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558032.001.0001

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The Changing Nature of Urban Poverty in China 1

The Changing Nature of Urban Poverty in China 1

(p.300) 12 The Changing Nature of Urban Poverty in China1
Debates on the Measurement of Global Poverty

Carl Riskin

Qin Gao

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines several different standards that have been used for defining and measuring urban poverty in China, and the resulting estimates of poverty rates and trends. The best estimates are very low in comparison with other large developing countries, but still well above the almost-zero rates generated by the most austere poverty lines used. Urban poverty rose from the 1980s into the 1990s and then fell after about 1997. The identification of interesting changes in the characteristics of the urban poor is followed by a discussion of government benefits programs. The changing composition of the income of poor and near-poor urban residents reveals no evidence that direct benefit payments had a significant impact on their incomes. China's safety net and other benefits programs did not have a measurable impact on urban poverty by 2002 and were not the cause of urban poverty decline.

Keywords:   urban poverty, China, social benefits

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