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The threshold effect of high‐level human capital investment on China's urban‐rural income gap

Yitao Jiang (Caitong Securities Company Limited, Hangzhou City, China School of Economics, Xiamen University, Xiamen, People's Republic of China)
Xiaojun Shi (School of Economics and Management, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing, People's Republic of China)
Shunming Zhang (School of Finance, Renmin University of China, Beijing, People's Republic of China)
Jingjing Ji (School of Economics, Xiamen University, Xiamen, People's Republic of China)

China Agricultural Economic Review

ISSN: 1756-137X

Article publication date: 6 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the effect of high‐level human capital investment, using tertiary education as the proxy, on the urban‐rural income gap in China.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a panel dataset covering 28 provinces of China over the period from 1988 to 2007, this paper employs Hansen's method and two‐step GMM‐SYS estimator to estimate the threshold regression model and the dynamic fixed‐effect panel model, respectively.

Findings

The urban‐rural income gap is found to be related to high‐level human capital investment in an inverted U‐shaped pattern with respect to economic development level. The estimated threshold turning point is around 20,000 RMB GDP per capita. This estimate is sufficiently robust to model specifications and variants of the dependent variable.

Social implications

The authors forecast that high‐level human capital investment could play a role in bridging the urban‐rural income gap at the national level by 2014, when China's GDP per capita assumes an annual growth rate of 7.5 percent.

Originality/value

This, it is believed, is the first research to find an inverted U‐shaped pattern for high‐level human capital investment and urban‐rural income gap nexus in China.

Keywords

Citation

Jiang, Y., Shi, X., Zhang, S. and Ji, J. (2011), "The threshold effect of high‐level human capital investment on China's urban‐rural income gap", China Agricultural Economic Review, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 297-320. https://doi.org/10.1108/17561371111165752

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited