April 2022

IZA DP No. 15219: Incomplete Catching Up: Income among Manchurian, Yi and Han People in Rural China from 2002 to 2018

forthcoming in: China Quarterly

Household income per capita among the rural Yi, Manchurian ethnic minority groups and the Han majority is studied using data from the China Household Income Project 2002, 2013 and 2018. The disparity in total per capita income between the Yi and Han populations narrowed, while the average income among the Manchurian population remained relatively similar to that among the Han population. Decomposing total income into sources shows that the rapid increase in agricultural income among the Yi was a main reason why the disparity in income compared to the two other ethnic groups narrowed. Nevertheless, it is true that the reliance on agricultural income among the Yi became less extreme as wage employment and migration increased. The Manchurian group and the Han group also experienced rapid increases in wages and self-employment income. The aggregated value of transfers from the public sector was similar for all three ethnic groups.