On the measurement of population weighted relative indices of mobility and convergence, with an illustration based on Chinese data

Working Paper 2019-505


This paper extends previous work on income-weighted measures of distributional change by defining in a unified framework population weighted and relative indices of structural and exchange mobility and measures of $sigma$- and $beta$-convergence. The analysis focuses on both the anonymous (comparison of cross- sections) and non-anonymous case (panel data) and unconditional as well conditional measures of pro-poor growth are defined. The empirical illustration, based on urban China data of non-retired individuals from the China Family Panel Studies, compares incomes in 2010 and 2014 and shows the usefulness of the tools introduced in the present study. It turns out that, during the period examined, there was $beta$-convergence and slight $sigma$-divergence, non-anonymous growth was pro-poor while anonymous growth was not. Income growth favored individuals with low levels of education as well as younger people in the non-anonymous case, but not in the anonymous case.

Authors: Elena Bárcena-Martin, Elena Jacques Silber, Yuan Zhang.

Keywords: $beta$-convergence, $sigma$-divergence, exchange mobility, structural mobility, pro-poor growth, China.
JEL: D31, I32, O15.