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CRN: Experts Criticize China’s Official Gini Coefficient

China Review News (CRN) recently reported on the Gini Coefficient that the National Bureau of Statistics released. It has been over a decade since the Bureau last released China’s Gini Coefficient. In this current new release, the Bureau published official numbers for the past ten years. All numbers were between 0.473 and 0.491. Immediately after the official announcement, many economists posted their comments online. Some called the official numbers “unbelievable” compared to unofficial numbers that are typically around 0.6. Some even described the official results as “braver than fairy tales.” The most conservative comments suggested that these numbers “still reflected a big income gap between the rich and the poor.” The Gini Coefficient is commonly used as a measure of the inequality in income or wealth. The global average Gini Coefficient is 0.44, and the Index number of 0.4 is a widely accepted international red line. All experts asked for the details on the methodology used for the official calculation.

[Editor’s Note: The Washington Post reported on December 11, 2012, for example, that a new study from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics found "that China’s Gini coefficient was, as of 2010, an alarmingly high 0.61."]

Source: China Review News, January 19, 2013