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The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China$
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Shenggen Fan, Ravi Kanbur, Shang-Jin Wei, and Xiaobo Zhang

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678204

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678204.001.0001

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China’s well-being since 1990

China’s well-being since 1990

65 China’s well-being since 1990
The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China

Richard A. Easterlin

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the well-being of Chinese people in the transition from socialism to capitalism. It shows that despite an unprecedented rate of economic growth, China’s life satisfaction in the twenty years since 1990 has largely followed the trajectory of the central and eastern European transition countries — a decline followed by a recovery, with a nil or declining trend over the period as a whole. There is no evidence of a marked increase in life satisfaction in China of the magnitude that might be expected due to the enormous four-fold improvement in the level of GDP per capita. Life satisfaction declined most among the lowest income and least educated segments of the population, while rising somewhat among those in the upper socioeconomic stratum.

Keywords:   quality of life, economic growth, Chinese society, social aspects, life satisfaction

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