The impact of foreign direct investment on urban-rural income inequality Evidence from China

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyse the impact of foreign direct investment (FDI) on urban-rural income inequality in China. Design/methodology/approach This study uses the provincial-level panel data and employs the fixed-effects instrumental variable regression technique to investigate empirically the impact of FDI on urban-rural income inequality in China. Findings The study finds that while FDI has directly contributed to reducing urban-rural income inequality through employment creation, knowledge spillovers and contribution to economic growth, FDI has also contributed to increasing urban-rural income inequality through international trade. Practical implications The study has some policy implications. First, as the study finds that FDI not only contributes to reducing urban-rural income inequality through employment creation, knowledge spillovers and contribution to economic growth, but also contributes to increasing urban-rural income inequality through international trade, therefore, apart from improving local economic and technological conditions to attract more FDI inflows, China should re-design FDI policies by shifting away from encouraging export-oriented FDI to encouraging FDI flows into the industries and sectors in line with China's overall economic structural adjustments and industrial upgrading. Second, policies should focus on increasing investment in infrastructure development and in public education, which not only can reduce urban-rural income inequality but also can attract more FDI inflows. And finally policies should be designed to accelerate urbanisation development by focusing on urban-rural integrated development, household registration system reform and proper settlement of rural migrants in urban areas, thus reducing urban-rural income inequality. Originality/value The paper makes two major contributions to the literature. First, the paper adopts the fixed-effects instrumental variable regression technique to deal with the endogeneity issues in estimating the impact of FDI on urban-rural income inequality, producing more consistent estimates. Second, the paper investigates not only the direct impact of FDI on urban-rural income inequality through the effects of employment creation, knowledge spillovers and contribution to economic growth, but also the indirect impact of FDI on urban-rural income inequality through its activities in international trade, adding new empirical evidence to the sparse literature on the impact of FDI on income inequality in China.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)480-497
    JournalChina Agricultural Economic Review
    Volume8
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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