Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 1998, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (4): 295-302.doi: 10.11821/xb199804001

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Zhong Yingjie, Wang Zheng   

  1. Institute of Policy & Management, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080
  • Received:1997-01-01 Revised:1997-09-01 Online:1998-07-15 Published:1998-07-15
  • Supported by:
    Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China

Abstract: It is widely known that sustainable development is an important requirement of modern social development. Since 1992, many researchers have paid attention to the relationship between the economic growth and the social equity, which is an important aspect of sustainable development, as it is more important to developing countries than developed countries. The regional equity in China has been recognized as an essential content of sustainable development. Now China has achieved a great economic growth, and some researchers considered that interregional inequity has appeared between the East and the West of China during the process of China’s opening. According to the idea of development, one can not decide that every area has the same growth rate is good for national economy with a limited money, capital and labor force. In other words, the basic meaning of development is not to emphasize the interregional balance of economic growth, but the balance of the living standard of the residents and the condition of equity between various areas. In this paper, interregional equity in China is discussed from a new point of view, i.e. social demand situation, since it directly reflects people’s living standard and social developing trend. The working model, a demand analysis model, is introduced to understand the situation of equity in China, using the annual data of 1992 ̄1995 of urbanized residents in eight various areas in China whose economic developing standard are different. Working’s model is a powerful yet practically convenient model, which was devised by H. Working in 1943. And E.A. Selvanathan and Kenneth W. Clements provided evidence that this model is superior for long term case for recent development (1995). Therefore, Working’s model is much more helpful in discussing sustainable development compared to a number of alternative models. Furthermore, the basic data used in the model can be easily acquired from statistical annuals. In this paper, we mainly focus on the analysis of social equity situation in different areas of China, based on which we also provide some strategies of economic development involving in the adjustment of the structure of commodities and industries to seek a more equity as well as prosperity in future. In our investigation, eight consumption goods are classified, which include food, clothing, durable goods, medical treatment and health care, transportation, communication, education, and housing. The investigation suggests the following results: ① The consumption of food and clothing is the basic need for China, which is about 65% of all of residents’ consumption, the percentage of consumption of food is about 3 times that of developed countries. However, the difference between market shares and marginal market shares of the two commodities is small, almost zero for each, and there is not interregional difference. This means the problem of food and clothing has been solved and there is almost no difference between the East and the West of China on essential living conditions. ② Medical treatment and health care, education and durable goods are in the same standard of demand, and a difference exists between the central area of China and other areas. This means the development of the central areas has some difficulties. For instance, Heilongjiang Province, once the most important heavy industrial in China, was brought down to a rather depressive situation because of the adjustment of industrial structure in China following the open and reform policy. There emerges a new poverty phenomenon in Chinese heavy industrial regions. ③ Although the demand of durable goods, transportation and communication is increasing in each area, Shanghai, Guangdong and Beijing have relatively high marginal share, which means a difference exists between the East and other areas. Especially, only Shanghai’s marginal share of communication achieves 1/2 of developed counties and Beijing’s is smaller. This shows that there exists a difference in development level between Shanghai and Beijing.

Key words: interregional equity, demand of consumption, sustainable development, China

CLC Number: 

  • F713.5