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A new method is proposed to decompose inequality changes as measured by the Gini index into structural effects, real inequality effects and interactive effects. Application of the method to updated Chinese data reveals that structural effects represent the driving force underlying the increasing trend in regional income inequality in rural China. Policy implications are explored. In addition to these contributions, considerable efforts are made to construct the income data used in the article. Pitfalls in measuring income inequality in rural China are discussed.


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