我国工资与收入分配改革的* 回顾与展望

China Economist - - Articles - 张车伟 赵 文中国社会科学院人口与劳动经济研究所

摘 要:如何建立合理的收入分配关系,让经济增长更好地惠及国民,一直是我们前进路上的课题。改革开放之前,我国的分配关系主要是国家、国营企业、职工、集体经济之间的关系,重工业和轻工业之间的关系,以及城市和农村之间的关系。改革开放以来,国家、国营企业、职工之间的关系演变为政府、企业、居民之间的分配关系,重工业和轻工业之间的关系演变为国有经济和民营经济之间的分配关系,城市和农村之间的关系演变为城镇原住居民和外来人口之间的分配关系。而工资制度改革始终贯穿三类分配关系。目前,历史所积累的和市场固有的收入分配矛盾不断化解,一部分人和一部分地区先富了起来,城乡和地区之间的收入差距有所缩小。但逐步扩大的居民之间的收入差距已经成为经济健康发展与全面建成小康社会的重要负面因素,“先富带动后富”的机制还不健全,力度还不够大。其中,功能性分配格局失衡是收入分配不合理的重要原因和源头,普通劳动者的工资水平整体偏低。未来,需要在初次分配中充分发挥市场的决定性作用,让各类要素取得相应回报,并加大再分配调节力度,实现全体人民共同富裕。

关键词:工资;收入分配;劳动报酬;居民收入;基尼系数;个人所得税JEL分类号: J17; J38

一、引言

2018年,我国的人类发展指数排名上升到了第86位( U N D P,2018)。其中,以购买力平价计算的人均国民总收入达到15270美元,排名第77位,已经是实实在在的中等收入国家。同时,我国的产业结构更加合理,经济增长方式更加可持续,改革开放成果更加丰硕,社会发展前景更加看好。这一系列成就的取得,离不开正确合理的收入分配机制。

新中国成立以来,工资制度与收入分配关系几经变革。新中国成立初期,工业基础十分薄弱。为了保障国家政治独立、国防安全,满足经济建设需要,同时受苏联工业化道路成功的带动,我国确立了优先发展重工业的战略,集中力量建立起完整的工业体系。期间,工资制度经历了两次大的制度变革和数次小范围的调

were con­sis­tent with China’s na­tional con­di­tions at that time. How­ever, since re­form and open­ing-up in 1978, great trans­for­ma­tions have taken place in China’s eco­nomic and in­come dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems. China evolved from an agri­cul­tural coun­try into a ser­vice-based econ­omy. Dom­i­nant pub­lic own­er­ship gave way to a di­ver­si­fied own­er­ship struc­ture. Egal­i­tar­i­an­ism was re­placed by a di­ver­si­fied in­come dis­tri­bu­tion pat­tern, where dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor held sway.

From 1949 to 1978, China’s dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions were re­la­tions among the gov­ern­ment, state-run en­ter­prises, em­ploy­ees and the col­lec­tive econ­omy; re­la­tions be­tween heavy in­dus­try and light in­dus­try; and re­la­tions be­tween cities and the coun­try­side. Af­ter 1978, dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions among state, staterun en­ter­prises and em­ploy­ees evolved into dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions among gov­ern­ment, en­ter­prises and house­holds. Dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions be­tween heavy in­dus­try and light in­dus­try changed into dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions be­tween the state sec­tor and pri­vate sec­tor. Dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions be­tween cities and the coun­try­side were re­placed by dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions be­tween orig­i­nal ur­ban res­i­dents and mi­grant pop­u­la­tions.

Pub­lic own­er­ship re­mains the main­stay of China’s econ­omy. How­ever, the non­pub­lic econ­omy has de­vel­oped rapidly and plays an im­por­tant role in growth, em­ploy­ment and mar­ket dy­namism. How to pro­mote in­clu­sive growth that ben­e­fits all peo­ple has been and will al­ways be a key ques­tion fac­ing Chi­nese econ­o­mists and pol­icy-mak­ers. The Re­port of the 19th CPC Na­tional Congress states that: “We should ad­here to the prin­ci­ple of dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor, in­crease re­turn to la­bor while boost­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity, and cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to earn la­bor in­come.” Re­form of the wage sys­tem in­volves fac­tors in the dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions be­tween cap­i­tal and la­bor, as well as among var­i­ous sec­tors, em­ploy­ment groups and res­i­dents. It is a key as­pect of China’s in­come dis­tri­bu­tion re­form in the re­cent pe­riod.

On the eve of the 70th an­niver­sary of the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, it is im­por­tant for us to take stock of China’s in­come dis­tri­bu­tion re­form and look for­ward. This pa­per of­fers a re­view of China’s wage and in­come re­form process since 1949, in­ves­ti­gates the cur­rent in­come dis­tri­bu­tion sit­u­a­tion, and en­vi­sions fu­ture in­come dis­tri­bu­tion re­forms.

2. Wage and In­come Dis­tri­bu­tion Re­la­tions un­der the Planned Econ­omy

Af­ter 1949, China’s in­come dis­tri­bu­tion changed from an egal­i­tar­ian ra­tion sys­tem to a hi­er­ar­chi­cal wage sys­tem, where one’s wage was de­ter­mined by one’s rank ( Yang, 2007). How­ever, de­ci­sion­mak­ers could not reach a con­sen­sus on whether a hi­er­ar­chi­cal wage was con­sis­tent with so­cial­ist in­come dis­tri­bu­tion by of­fer­ing more pay to en­cour­age more work. For this rea­son, be­fore 1978, in­come dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions in China were con­stantly ad­justed. China adopted a highly cen­tral­ized planned econ­omy un­der the “dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor” prin­ci­ple, and ad­justed in­come dis­tri­bu­tion to ac­com­mo­date na­tional, col­lec­tive and per­sonal in­ter­ests. Such ad­just­ments in­volved the gov­ern­ment, state-run and col­lec­tive en­ter­prises, their em­ploy­ees, and farm­ers. Pre-1978 dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions in China can be di­vided into two stages: In the first stage, in­come dis­tri­bu­tion was dom­i­nated by dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor un­der the pub­lic own­er­ship econ­omy, sup­ported by other eco­nomic el­e­ments. This sys­tem was highly cen­tral­ized but left room for pri­vate eco­nomic el­e­ments. In the sec­ond stage, China adopted an egal­i­tar­ian in­come dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. While wage gaps ap­peared to be lim­ited within the house­hold sec­tor, from a broader per­spec­tive, wel­fare dis­tri­bu­tion was highly un­even among peo­ple of dif­fer­ent ranks, in­clud­ing hous­ing, per­sonal sec­re­tary, se­cu­rity guard, chauf­feur, car, lo­gis­ti­cal ser­vice, nanny, chef, spe­cial sup­plies, health­care and ed­u­ca­tion ben­e­fits. In this sense, real house­hold in­come gaps be­fore the re­form and open­ing up in 1978 may not be as small as the Gini co­ef­fi­cient made them ap­pear to be.

2.1 Two Rounds of Wage Re­form

2.1.1 Wage ad­just­ment and the first wage re­form be­fore and af­ter 1949

In the early stage, af­ter the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in 1949, the co­ex­is­tence

整。事实证明,这一时期的重工业优先和按劳分配的工资制度以及围绕其设计的分配制度,符合当时的国情。改革开放以来,经济体制变化巨大,分配机制也发生了适应时代要求的新变化。产业结构从以农业为主到以工业为主并正在向服务业主导型经济转变。所有制结构和分配结构深刻变化,实现由单一公有制到多种所有制经济共同发展的转变,从绝对平均主义转变为以按劳分配为主、多种分配方式并存。

新中国成立初期到改革开放之前,我国的分配关系主要是国家、国营企业、职工、集体经济之间的关系,重工业和轻工业之间的关系,以及城市和农村之间的关系。改革开放以来,国家、国营企业、职工之间的关系演变为政府、企业、居民之间的分配关系,重工业和轻工业之间的关系演变为国有经济和民营经济之间的分配关系,城市和农村之间的关系演变为城镇原住居民和外来人口之间的分配关系。目前,公有制主体地位巩固,继续保持控制力和影响力。非公有制经济快速发展,在促进增长、扩大就业和激发市场活力等方面发挥越来越重要的作用。未来,如何让经济增长的果实更好地惠及全体国民,一直是我们前进路上的课题。党的十九大报告提出:坚持按劳分配原则,坚持在劳动生产率提高的同时实现劳动报酬同步提高,拓宽居民劳动收入渠道。工资制度改革,既涉及资本和劳动之间的要素分配关系,还涉及行业之间、就业群体之间、居民之间的分配关系,始终是贯穿各种分配关系的主线之一,也是近一个时期我们收入分配改革的主要着眼点和落脚点。

在新中国成立七十周年之际,回顾工资与收入分配关系变化的改革进程,探讨过去经验所蕴藏着的对未来改革的深刻启示,能够让我们更加清楚地知道我们当前所在的历史位置和前进方向。本文回顾新中国成立以来工资和收入分配改革历程,分析当前收入分配形势,展望未来的收入分配改革。

二、改革开放前我国工资与收入分配变迁

收入分配制度在新中国成立前后,有过重大变化,即从带有平均主义色彩的供给制,改成了等级森严、差距较大的职务等级工资制(杨奎松,2007)。对是否通过利用等级差或扩大收入差距的办法来激励人们努力工作,进而体现社会主义式的多劳多得的分配特色这种观点,实际上决策层未能达成一致。这是改革开放之前,我国收入分配关系不断调整的原因和主线。总体来看,我国主要实行的是高度集中的计划经济体制,和与之配套的按劳分配的分配制度。分配关系调整的原则是兼顾国家利益、集体利益和个人利益,调整范围主要在政府、国营企业、国营企业职工、集体企业职工、集体企业、农民之间。改革开放前的分配关系可以分为两个阶段。第一阶段基本实行的是公有制经济按劳分配和其他经济成分分配方式相结合的收入分配制度,它具有“大集中、小自由”的特点。第二阶段实行的是收入分配平均化的分配制度。从居民之间的收入差距来看,尽管工资差别看起来不大,但从更为宽泛的福利角度来看,住房、秘书、警卫、司机、专车、勤务、保姆、厨师、特供、医疗、教育各个方面的分配,在各阶层之间存在较大差距。从这个意义上说,改革开放前居民收入差距的真实情况可能并不像基尼系数显示的那样小。

(一)两次工资改革

of mul­ti­ple dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems, in­clud­ing both a ra­tion sys­tem and a wage sys­tem, could not keep up with chang­ing sit­u­a­tions. The old wage sys­tem was chaotic. It could not re­flect the prin­ci­ple of dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor and im­peded na­tional eco­nomic plan­ning and re­gional de­vel­op­ment bal­anc­ing. In Au­gust 1950, the Min­istry of La­bor and the All-China Fed­er­a­tion of Trade Unions en­acted the Reg­u­la­tions on Wage (Draft) to de­ter­mine three prin­ci­ples for re­form­ing the wage sys­tem, i.e. the re­form should: first, help cre­ate a na­tion­ally uni­fied rea­son­able wage sys­tem; sec­ond, im­prove peo­ple’s liv­ing stan­dards and re­ceive sup­port from most em­ploy­ees; third, take into ac­count na­tional fis­cal power and re­la­tions with work­ers and farm­ers, and avoid in­creas­ing the bur­den to the gov­ern­ment. With the de­vel­op­ment of the so­cial­ist pub­lic own­er­ship sys­tem, con­di­tions be­came right for dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor. Around 1952, China car­ried out a na­tion­wide wage re­form for its var­i­ous ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gions.

(1) “Wage point” was a na­tion­ally uni­fied unit for cal­cu­lat­ing wage. The types and quan­ti­ties con­tained in wage points were spec­i­fied as well. Each wage point was con­verted into five types of phys­i­cal goods, in­clud­ing grain, cloth, oil, salt and coal (see Ta­ble 1).

(2) Based on the prin­ci­ple of dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor, China cre­ated a new wage hi­er­ar­chy sys­tem for work­ers and em­ploy­ees, re­form­ing the piece wage sys­tem, cre­at­ing an in­cen­tive sys­tem, and en­act­ing stan­dards for work­ers’ tech­ni­cal skills level. Most state-run en­ter­prises adopted an eight-grade wage sys­tem, while a few adopted a seven-grade wage sys­tem. Pri­or­i­tiz­ing heavy in­dus­try, tech­ni­cal com­plex­ity, and work­ers’ skills level, seven or eight wage lev­els were iden­ti­fied in an as­cend­ing or­der.

(3) The ra­tion sys­tem was changed into the wage sys­tem for state func­tionar­ies. In July 1950, the Min­istry of Finance en­acted the Tem­po­rary Ra­tion Stan­dards for Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment In­sti­tu­tions for 1950. Un­der these ra­tion stan­dards, the liv­ing ex­penses and other al­lowances of state func­tionar­ies were all con­verted into rice quan­ti­ties. Such liv­ing ex­penses in­cluded grain, veg­eta­bles, coal and fine grain, cloth­ing, cot­ton quilt, hol­i­day and health­care al­lowances. Ra­tion stan­dards were di­vided into high, medium and low stan­dards, cor­re­spond­ing to a monthly sup­ply of 112.5, 82.5 and 65 kilo­grams of rice, re­spec­tively, for each per­son. Other al­lowances in­cluded cloth­ing, tech­ni­cal skill, health­care, el­derly

1.新中国成立前后的工资调整与第一次工资改革

新中国成立初期,供给制、工资制等多种分配制度并存的状态,难以适应新的形势。旧工资制度杂乱且无法体现按劳分配的原则,妨碍国民经济计划的编制与各地区之间的平衡。对此,1950年8月,劳动部和全国总工会制定了《工资条例(草案)》,确定了改革工资制度的三条原则。第一,尽可能改革得比较合理,为建立全国统一合理的工资制度打下初步基础;第二,照顾现实,照顾广大人民的生活,做到大多数职工拥护;第三,照顾国家财力和工农关系,不过多增加国家负担。随着社会主义公有制的完善和不断发展,在分配领域实行按劳分配原则的条件也逐步具备。1952年前后,经过各方面的准备工作,全国以各大行政区为单位,分别进行了一次全国性的工资改革。

①以工资分作为全国统一的工资计算单位,并规定工资分所含实物的种类和数量。每一工资分,折合为粮、布、油、盐、煤五种实物(见表1)。

②根据按劳分配原则,建立了新的工人和职员的工资等级制度。改革计件工资制和建立奖励制度,制定了工人的技术等级标准。国营企业的工人大多数实行八级工资制,少数实行七级工资制。按照重工业优先、技术复杂程度和工人的技术水平,由低到高地划分为八个或七个工资等级(见表3)。

③国家机关工作人员由供给制改为工资制。1950年7月,财政部制定了《中央直属各机关一九五〇年度暂行供给标准》,规定把实行供给制的国家机关工作人员的生活费(包括粮食、菜金、煤炭、细粮补贴,鞋袜、棉被补贴,过节费,轻病号补助等项)及其他津贴,一律折米包干供给。分为大、中、小灶三种待遇标准。大灶待遇的,每人每月折米130斤;中灶165斤;小灶225斤。其他如服装、技术津贴、保健费、老年优待费、妇婴费(妇女卫生费、生育费、婴儿保育费、托儿费、保姆费、六至十五岁孩子生活费等),以及住房、水电、家具等项,照旧供

care, women and child­care (al­lowances for women’s san­i­ta­tion, child­birth, child­care, nurs­ing cost, cost of liv­ing for chil­dren aged be­tween six and 15), as well as hous­ing, util­i­ties and fur­ni­ture al­lowances. Food and al­lowances were supplied to state func­tionar­ies ac­cord­ing to the above three stan­dards, and the rest con­tin­ued to be supplied by the gov­ern­ment as usual. This was the first step in the tran­si­tion from the ra­tion sys­tem to the wage sys­tem.

2.1.2 The Sec­ond wage re­form

The first na­tion­wide wage re­form was car­ried out in var­i­ous re­gions. A na­tion­ally uni­fied wage sys­tem was not yet es­tab­lished. Af­ter the found­ing of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China in 1949, China started to con­cen­trate on post-war eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Dur­ing this pe­riod, work­ers were fre­quently re­lo­cated from one place to an­other where they were paid dif­fer­ently due to in­con­sis­tent re­gional wages. From 1949 to 1952, dur­ing China’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery, em­ploy­ees en­joyed a faster wage growth com­pared with farm­ers, and higher salaries in cities at­tracted farm­ers to move to cities. From 1953 to 1955, China did not raise wages na­tion­wide. This pe­riod is char­ac­ter­ized by a price hike in con­sumer goods that re­sulted in the real wage of em­ploy­ees fall­ing. Mean­while, China en­joyed a rapid de­vel­op­ment of pro­duc­tiv­ity that pro­vided fairly strong ma­te­rial con­di­tions.

In this con­text, the State Coun­cil adopted the De­ci­sion on Wage Re­form in June 1955 to abol­ish wage points and im­ple­ment money wages. Wage raises were sub­ject to na­tional in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural de­vel­op­ment and po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic tasks. The wage level of em­ploy­ees was to be com­pat­i­ble with pro­duc­tiv­ity, and pro­duc­tiv­ity growth had to ex­ceed wage growth. Based on China’s in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion pol­icy, the pri­or­ity was to raise the wages of skilled work­ers, sci­en­tists and tech­ni­cians in heavy in­dus­try sec­tors and key re­gions.

This re­form uni­fied the wage scale of en­ter­prise work­ers and the tech­ni­cal stan­dards of in­dus­trial work­ers. How­ever, there was a widen­ing in the mul­ti­plier be­tween max­i­mum and min­i­mum wages, be­tween skilled and non­skilled work­ers, be­tween in­ten­sive and less de­mand­ing la­bor, be­tween harsh and nor­mal weather, be­tween harsh (such as sub­sur­face op­er­a­tions) and nor­mal work­ing con­di­tions (above­ground op­er­a­tions), and be­tween tech­ni­cal and non-tech­ni­cal jobs (Ta­bles 4 and 5 show an ex­am­ple of

给。即伙食费和津贴单独按大、中、小灶三种标准发给个人自由支配,其他部分仍由公家供给。这是从供给制到工资制的过渡。

2.第二次工资改革

第一次全国性的工资改革是以各大区为单位进行的,还需要进一步在全国层面统一工资制度。到了大规模经济建设时期,由于地区间工人调动频繁,各地区不同的工资标准造成了同工不同酬的问题。1949年到1952年的恢复时期,职工平均工资增长速度快于农民收入增长速度,开始出现农民向城市流动的现象。为此, 1953年到1955年,没有在全国层面调高工资。这一时期消费品价格上涨,职工实际工资下降。同时,我国生产力有很大发展,物质基础相对丰厚。

根据上述情况,国务院于1956年6月通过了《关于工资改革的决定》,规定此次工资改革的原则是:鉴于全国物价基本稳定,取消工资分制度,实行货币工资制。职工平均工资提高的幅度,根据国家工业和农业的发展情况及当时的政治经济任务来确定,职工的工资水平应与劳动生产率水平相适应,并且要使劳动生产率提高的速度超过职工工资的提高速度。根据国家工业化的政策,提高重工业部门、重点建设地区、高级技术工人和高级科学家、技术人员的工资。

这次工资改革统一了企业工人的工资等级表,以及产业工人的技术等级标准。最高工资与最低工资的倍数、熟练工与非熟练工、繁重劳动与轻便劳动、高温工作与常温工作、井下与井上、技术工种与非技术工种的工资差距拉大(以工业门类健全的辽宁地区国营工业企业工人的八级工资制和管理人员工资标准为例,如表4和表5所示)。商业企业业务人员(售货员、保管员、采购员、服务员)按照商业、粮食、外贸、供销合作等部门规定了不同的工资标准。在部门内部,根据业务内容规定了不同的工资标准。地质、铁路、民航、邮电、海运、农林

grade-eight work­ers and man­agers at state-run en­ter­prises in Liaon­ing Prov­ince, where com­plete in­dus­tries were lo­cated). Dif­fer­ent wage stan­dards were adopted for com­mer­cial en­ter­prise per­son­nel (sales­per­sons, ware­house keep­ers, buy­ers and ser­vice staff) in re­tail, grain, for­eign trade and dis­tri­bu­tion and other sec­tors. Within each sec­tor, wage stan­dards were spec­i­fied for dif­fer­ent lines of busi­ness. Wage stan­dards were sep­a­rately de­ter­mined by com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties in charge of ge­ol­ogy, rail­way, civil avi­a­tion, postal ser­vice, marine trans­porta­tion, agri­cul­ture, forestry and water con­ser­vancy sec­tors.

In Jan­uary 1955, money wages were adopted for all mil­i­tary cadres and state func­tionar­ies. Af­ter the adop­tion of money wages, all liv­ing ex­penses of em­ploy­ees and their fam­ily mem­bers had to be cov­ered by them­selves. Money wages for state func­tionar­ies were di­vided into 30 grades (Ta­ble 6), rang­ing from the max­i­mum of 560 yuan to the min­i­mum of 18 yuan, or 649.6 yuan and 20.99 yuan, re­spec­tively, if the 16% cost-of-liv­ing pre­mium for Bei­jing was in­cluded. The high­est wage was 31.11 times higher than the low­est wage - this rep­re­sents the high­est mul­ti­plier and the high­est wage stan­dard since 1949.

2.1.3 Ad­just­ment of the wage sys­tem from the “Great Leap For­ward” to the end of the Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion

Dur­ing the “Great Leap For­ward” ( 1958- 1960), China’s econ­omy was ex­tremely volatile; its wage and dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem swung be­tween the ra­tion sys­tem and the wage sys­tem. The “Great Leap For­ward” move­ment led to a surge in cap­i­tal con­struc­tion and the num­ber of em­ploy­ees. In 1958 alone, the num­ber of em­ploy­ees at en­ter­prises owned by the whole peo­ple in­creased by over 20 mil­lion - equiv­a­lent to 85% of the orig­i­nal num­ber of em­ploy­ees. Com­pared with 1957, the num­ber of em­ploy­ees at en­ter­prises owned by the whole peo­ple in­creased by 25.93 mil­lion in 1969 - more than dou­bled.

Rapid in­crease in the num­ber of em­ploy­ees led to a break­through in wage funds. Wage funds were cre­ated by the gov­ern­ment for pay­ment of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion for all em­ploy­ees of state agen­cies, en­ter­prises, in­sti­tu­tions, so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions and other grass­roots en­ti­ties. They were the source of salary

水利的工资标准,分别由相关部门参照制定。

1955年1月,军队干部和国家机关工作人员全部改行了工资制。改为工资制以后,工作人员及其家属的一切生活费用均由个人负担。国家机关工作人员的工资制度,共30级(见表6),最高560元,最低18元,最高工资加上北京地区物价津贴16%以后,为649.6元,最低20.88元,最高与最低相差31.11倍,是新中国成立以来最大的倍数,也是最高的标准。

3.“大跃进”到“文革”结束时期的工资制度调整

1958年到1960年,即“大跃进”时期,国民经济出现了较大的波动。工资和分配制度在供给制和工资制之间摇摆。在“大跃进”运动中,基本建设规模急剧扩大,造成了职工人数大增。仅1958年一年,全国全民所有制单位职工人数就增加了二千多万人,相当于原有职工的85%。1960年与1957年相比,我国全民所有制单位职工共增加了2593万人,增长了一倍多。

职工人数的急剧增加,引起了工资基金的大突破。工资基金是国家按照计划下达为支付国家机关、企业、事业、社会团体等基层单位全体职工劳动报酬而设置的一种基金,是各单位职工工资的来源。包括按工资标准支付的基础工资、职务工资、工龄津贴、计件工资、保留工资、停工工资及根据国家有关规定属于工资总额范围内的各种奖金、津贴、补贴,以及浮动工资、自费改革工资等。工资基金的总额,应与社会总产品中能够出售给领取工资者的消费资料总量相适应。1960年与1957年相比,全民所有制单位职工工资总额增加了107亿元,增长率为68.6%。由于工资基金增长过快,1958年社会商品购买力超过市场商品可供量,其差额为3.5亿

pay­ments for em­ploy­ees at var­i­ous en­ter­prises. These pay­ments in­cluded: base salary paid ac­cord­ing to wage stan­dard, rank-re­lated wage, se­nior­ity al­lowance, piece wage, reser­va­tion wage, and down­time pay, as well as var­i­ous bonuses, al­lowances, sub­si­dies, float­ing wage and wage re­form ben­e­fits that were part of the to­tal com­pen­sa­tion. The to­tal amount of wage funds should be com­pat­i­ble with the to­tal amount of con­sump­tion ma­te­ri­als of ag­gre­gate so­cial prod­ucts sell­able to wage earn­ers. Com­pared with 1957, the to­tal wages of em­ploy­ees at en­ter­prises owned by the whole peo­ple in­creased by 10.7 bil­lion yuan in 1960, up 68.6%. Due to ex­ces­sive growth in wage funds, con­sumer pur­chas­ing power ex­ceeded mar­ket sup­ply by 350 mil­lion yuan in 1958. In 1960, the dif­fer­ence ex­panded to 7.48 bil­lion yuan.

In 1961, China’s pol­icy-mak­ers took some im­por­tant pol­icy ini­tia­tives to straighten out eco­nomic re­la­tions and ad­just the econ­omy. The need for dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor also be­came bet­ter un­der­stood. In this stage, in 1963, China abol­ished the ra­tion sys­tem, semi-ra­tion sys­tem and semi-wage sys­tem, re­stored the bonus sys­tem and piece wage sys­tem, and raised em­ployee wages.

Dur­ing the Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion, bonuses and piece wages were dis­trib­uted evenly and egal­i­tar­i­an­ism pre­vailed. As a re­sult, em­ploy­ees earned the same wages ir­re­spec­tive of how much work they did and the qual­ity of their work. This se­ri­ously dis­rupted the prin­ci­ple of dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor, frus­trated en­thu­si­asm to work, and caused tremen­dous losses to the econ­omy and liv­ing stan­dards. As a re­sult, from 1966 to 1976, China’s in­dus­trial pro­duc­tiv­ity de­creased by 10%, and the av­er­age em­ployee wage was 605 yuan in 1976, down 47 yuan com­pared with 1965.

2.2 Changes in the In­ter-Sec­toral Dis­tri­bu­tion Pat­tern

The Party and the State have been striv­ing for an in­come dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem and dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions com­pat­i­ble with China’s na­tional con­di­tions. Af­ter 1949, China cre­ated new pro­duc­tion re­la­tions, and de­vel­oped a highly cen­tral­ized planned econ­omy sup­ported by a “dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor” so­cial­ist dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. The prin­ci­ple for ad­just­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions was to ac­com­mo­date na­tional, col­lec­tive and per­sonal in­ter­ests. Such ad­just­ments in­volved the gov­ern­ment, state-run and col­lec­tive en­ter­prises, their em­ploy­ees and farm­ers. Dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions in China changed with the pace of its eco­nomic op­er­a­tion.

Ini­tially, af­ter 1949, China cre­ated a pub­lic- own­er­ship econ­omy with a dom­i­nant state sec­tor and col­lec­tive econ­omy through con­fis­ca­tion of bu­reau­cratic cap­i­tal and so­cial­ist land re­forms. In the coun­try­side, farm­ers formed co­op­er­a­tives and Peo­ple’s Com­munes to de­velop a col­lec­tive econ­omy where the means of pro­duc­tion were owned at three lev­els and the pro­duc­tion brigade served as the ba­sic ac­count­ing unit. In this stage, the means of pro­duc­tion were un­der pub­lic own­er­ship, whose only dif­fer­ence was own­er­ship by the whole peo­ple and col­lec­tive own­er­ship. Dur­ing this pe­riod, in­come from the col­lec­tive econ­omy as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come de­creased from 55% in 1952 to 41% in 1957. In­come from state-run en­ter­prises as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come rose from 7% to 17%. In­come of state-run en­ter­prise em­ploy­ees as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come in­creased from 16% to 26%.

In­come dis­tri­bu­tion was heav­ily tilted in fa­vor of the gov­ern­ment and state-run en­ter­prises, while in­di­vid­u­als re­ceived a smaller por­tion of the to­tal na­tional in­come. From 1949 to 1978, ru­ral pop­u­la­tions ac­counted for 80% to 90% of China’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion, but their in­come as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come lin­gered around 40% to 50%. The rest was gov­ern­ment in­come and the in­comes of state-run en­ter­prises and their em­ploy­ees. On av­er­age, state-run en­ter­prises and their em­ploy­ees ac­counted for 18% and 19% of the to­tal na­tional in­come. Gov­ern­ment in­come ac­counted for 16%. Such dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tions un­der­went some changes in dif­fer­ent pe­ri­ods, as shown in Ta­ble 7.

Dur­ing the “Great Leap For­ward,” in­come dis­tri­bu­tion in China was tilted in fa­vor of steel and other heavy in­dus­tries. The in­come of state-run en­ter­prises as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come in­creased from 17% in 1957 to 34% in 1960. The in­come of em­ploy­ees at state-run en­ter­prises as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come dropped from 26% to 18%, and that of the col­lec­tive econ­omy fell from 41% to

元,1960年,差额扩大到74.8亿元。

1961年,决策层提出了一些理顺关系、调整经济的重大政策措施。同时,对贯彻执行按劳分配原则的必要性的认识,也逐步明确。在实际工作中,取消了供给制、半供给制半工资制,恢复了奖励制度和计件工资制度,并在1963年为职工调高了工资。

“文革”期间,奖金和计件超额工资被平均发给职工,平均主义盛行,结果造成了不管干和不干、干多干少、干好干坏都一样。这严重破坏了按劳分配原则,挫伤了职工群众的劳动积极性,给生产建设带来巨大损失,给人民生活带来极大困难。十年间,工业劳动生产率下降了10%,1976年全民职工年平均工资605元,比1965年还少了47元。

(二)四部门分配关系

探索建立适合中国国情的收入分配制度和关系,一直是党和国家的重要课题。新中国成立以来,我国建立了新的生产关系,主要实行的是高度集中的计划经济体制,和与之配套的按劳分配的社会主义分配制度。分配关系调整的原则是兼顾国家利益、集体利益和个人利益,调整范围主要在政府、国营企业、国营企业职工、集体企业职工、集体企业、农民之间。随着国民经济运行的节奏变化,分配关系也在不断调整。

新中国成立初期,通过没收官僚资本、土地改革以及进行社会主义改造等,在城市,基本形成了单纯的以国营经济、集体经济为主体的公有制经济,在农村,主要是以家庭经营为特征的个体农民,经过合作化和人民公社化,形成了“三级所有、队为基础”的集体经济。从生产资料所有制结构层面讲,只存在单一的公有制,仅有全民所有制和集体所有制形式的差别。在这一时期,集体经济收入占比下降幅度较大,从1952年的55%下降到了1957年的41%,国营企业收入占比从7%提高到了17%,国企职工收入占比从16%提高到了26%。

国家、国营企业、职工三者分配关系表现为“国家得大头、企业得中头、个人得小头”。1949年到1978年,农村人口占总人口的比重在80%到90%之间,但农村居民收入占国民收入的比重基本保持在40%到50%之间,其余的国民收入分别为政府收入、国营企业收入、国营企业职工收入。平均来看,国营企业收入、国营企业职工收入分别占国民收入的18%、19%,政府收入占国民收入的比重为16%。政府、国营企业、国营企业职工和集体经济的这一分配关系,在不同的时期有一些调整,如表7所示。

“大跃进”期间,国民收入向钢铁等行业倾斜。1957年与1960年相比,国营企业收入占比从17%提高到了34%。国营企业职工收入占比从26%下降到了18%,集体经济收入占比从41%下降到了35%。分配格局巨大的变化带来了一些部门的困难。1961年,党中央提出了对国民经济实行“调整、巩固、充实、提高”的八字方针,提出了一些理顺关系、调整经济的重大政策措施。比如:调整农、轻、重的比例关系,调整积累和消费的比例关系;调整产业内部的比例关系;在企业中恢复、完善和建立各项合理的规章制度;调整农村人民公社内部的组织形式和结构;调整所有制结构;等。1962年,国营企业收入占比下降到9%,国民收入重新向民生领域倾斜,居民收入恢复到了“大跃进”前的水平。“文革”期间,政府收入占比下降幅度较大,从

35%. The chang­ing in­come dis­tri­bu­tion cre­ated prob­lems for some sec­tors. In 1961, the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee took ma­jor pol­icy mea­sures to straighten out and ad­just the econ­omy, vow­ing to “ad­just, strengthen, en­rich and im­prove” it. These mea­sures aimed to achieve rea­son­able in­come pro­por­tions for agri­cul­ture, light in­dus­try and heavy in­dus­try, and to ad­just the pro­por­tions be­tween ac­cu­mu­la­tion and con­sump­tion and within in­di­vid­ual in­dus­tries. En­ter­prises re­stored, im­proved and cre­ated rea­son­able rules and sys­tems. Ad­just­ments were also made to the own­er­ship struc­ture and the or­ga­ni­za­tional form and struc­ture of ru­ral Peo­ple’s Com­munes. In 1962, state-run en­ter­prises rep­re­sented only 9% of the to­tal na­tional in­come. As in­come dis­tri­bu­tion be­came more fa­vor­able to peo­ple’s wel­fare, house­hold in­come re­sumed the level it had be­fore the “Great Leap For­ward.” Dur­ing the Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion, gov­ern­ment in­come as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come plum­meted from 19% in 1966 to 10% in 1976. The in­come of state-run en­ter­prises as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come and that of their em­ploy­ees all in­creased. The in­come of the col­lec­tive econ­omy as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come was sta­ble.

Mean­while, the real salary growth of em­ploy­ees was far out­paced by the per capita GDP growth rate. In 1952, China’s per capita GDP stood at 119.40 yuan, which grew by more than 2.20 times to reach 382 yuan in 1978. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, the an­nual nom­i­nal av­er­age wage of em­ploy­ees was 445 yuan in 1952 and 615 yuan in 1978, up only 38.2%.

For in­di­vid­ual in­come dis­tri­bu­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor was re­garded as the sole form of dis­tri­bu­tion in the so­cial­ist stage be­fore 1978. All other forms of dis­tri­bu­tion were re­garded as nonso­cial­ist, re­stricted and abol­ished. “Dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor” only oc­curred in two forms, i.e. wage and wage points. En­ter­prises owned by the whole peo­ple, gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and ur­ban col­lec­tive en­ter­prises all adopted the wage sys­tem, while the ru­ral col­lec­tive econ­omy prac­ticed the “wage point” sys­tem. Wage in­come was al­most the only source of in­come for ur­ban res­i­dents, while “wage point” in­come from the col­lec­tive com­prised the pri­mary in­come source for ru­ral res­i­dents.

Wage grades, stan­dards and lev­els were uni­formly set by the gov­ern­ment, and thus more or less the same for the same in­dus­try or sec­tor across the coun­try. They var­ied slightly across var­i­ous in­dus­tries, sec­tors and re­gions. How much in­come an em­ployee earned was un­re­lated to his or her em­ployer’s prof­itabil­ity. In the coun­try­side, farm­ers earned most of their in­come from pro­duc­tion brigades as the ba­sic unit of the col­lec­tive econ­omy. They re­ceived “wage points” at pro­duc­tion brigades and were paid ac­cord­ingly. The amount of “wage points” was de­ter­mined by the net in­come of the pro­duc­tion brigade, whose net in­come was sub­ject to the quan­tity and price of the agri­cul­tural prod­ucts. At that time, the types, quan­ti­ties, prices and dis­tri­bu­tion of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts were de­ter­mined uni­formly by the State. In this sense, farm­ers’ in­comes were reg­u­lated by the State un­der the planned econ­omy. Within a pro­duc­tion brigade, farm­ers were as­signed to work col­lec­tively. Col­lec­tive work and poor agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tiv­ity led to se­ri­ous egal­i­tar­ian dis­tri­bu­tion ten­den­cies. Un­der the tra­di­tional planned sys­tem and house­hold reg­is­tra­tion ( hukou) re­stric­tions, pro­duc­tion fac­tors could not flow freely be­tween the cities and the coun­try­side. In­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural prod­ucts could not be traded freely. Sur­plus ru­ral la­bor was un­able to move to cities. These re­stric­tions gave rise to and re­in­forced China’s ur­ban-ru­ral di­vide.

China’s per­sonal in­come dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem be­fore re­form and open­ing- up in 1978 was a cen­tral­ized planned sys­tem. Un­der the pub­lic own­er­ship and planned econ­omy, China adopted a slightly dif­fer­en­ti­ated egal­i­tar­ian dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem with­out im­ple­ment­ing the prin­ci­ple of dis­tri­bu­tion ac­cord­ing to la­bor. This led to highly equal per­sonal in­comes in China. Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics, China’s ur­ban Gini co­ef­fi­cient was 0.16 in 1978, which was ab­so­lute egal­i­tar­i­an­ism. The ru­ral Gini co­ef­fi­cient was 0.21, i.e. rel­a­tive egal­i­tar­i­an­ism, and far be­low the rea­son­able scope of 0.3-0.4. From a broader wel­fare per­spec­tive, the dis­tri­bu­tion of hous­ing, sec­re­tary, se­cu­rity guard, chauf­feur, car, ser­vice staff, house­keeper, chef, spe­cial sup­plies, health­care and ed­u­ca­tion was highly un­even among peo­ple of var­i­ous ranks. In this sense, the real in­come gaps in China be­fore re­form and open­ing-up in 1978 may not be as small as the Gini co­ef­fi­cient sug­gests.

1966年的19%下降到1976年的10%;国营企业收入占比和国营企业职工收入占比有所提高;集体经济收入占比稳定。

同时,职工实际工资增长远远低于人均国内生产总值的增长速度。1952年人均国内生产总值为119.40元,1978年为382元,增长了2.20倍,同期,职工年名义平均工资,1952年为445元,1978年为615元,仅增长了38.2%。

在居民个人收入分配方面,改革开放前将按劳分配看成是社会主义阶段的唯一分配方式,其他曾经存在的多种分配方式都被视为非社会主义性质的,因而被限制直至取消。当时的“按劳分配”只有两种形式,即工资和“工分”。全民所有制企业、机关和事业单位以及城镇集体企业,均实行工资制;农村集体经济实行“工分”制。工资性收入几乎是城镇居民收入唯一来源,农村居民收入的主要来源为从集体所得的工分收入。

但是,由于当时的工资等级、标准和水平由国家统一制定,同一部门、行业的工资等级、标准基本上全国一致,只是在不同部门、行业和地区间略有差别,企业职工的工资多少与本企业的经营状况好坏、经济效益高低关系不大。在农村,农民的收入来源主要是以生产队(或大队)为集体经营单位,在生产队(或大队)里评“工分”,然后凭“工分”取得劳动报酬。“工分”的分值由生产队(或大队)的纯收入所决定,生产队(或大队)的纯收入则取决于农产品的数量和价格,而当时农产品的种类、数量、价格和购销绝大部分是由国家统一决定的,所以,农民的收入水平实际上受国家计划调节。在生产队(或大队)内部,农民由生产队“派活”,进行集体劳动,加之当时农业生产力水平较低,从而出现了严重的平均主义分配倾向。由于传统的计划体制和严格的户籍制度的限制,城乡之间生产要素不能自由流动,工农业产品不能自由交易,大量农村富余劳动力无法转移到城市,城乡二元体制逐步形成并不断强化。

综合来看,改革开放以前的个人收入分配制度是一种高度集中的计划分配制度,在传统的公有制和计划经济条件下,工资分配实行的是单一型的略有差别的平均分配,并没有真正贯彻按劳分配原则,这造成我国的个人收入平均化趋势极为明显。据统计,1978年,城市的基尼系数为0.16,属于绝对平均范围,农村的基尼系数为0.21,属于比较平均范围,均远低于0.3- 0.4的相对合理范围。从更为宽泛的福利角度来看,住房、秘书、警卫、司机、专车、勤务、保姆、厨师、特供、医疗、教育各个方面的分配,在各阶层之间存在较大差距。从这个意义上说,改革开放前居民收入差距的真实情况可能并不像基尼系数显示的那样小。

三、功能性分配的变化:收入分配格局变动的趋势

改革开放以来,历史所积累的和市场固有的收入分配矛盾不断化解,一部分人和一部分地区先富了起来。但逐步扩大的居民收入差距已经成为经济健康发展与全面建成小康社会的重要负面因素,“先富带动后富”的机制还不健全,力度还不够大。其中,功能性分配格局失衡是收入分配不合理的重要原因和源头。一般来说,资本要素相对具有集中化倾向,劳动要素相对具有均等化倾向,劳动报酬水平偏低的话,收入差距就会

3. Changes in Wage and In­come Dis­tri­bu­tion Pat­terns un­der the Mar­ket Econ­omy

Since re­form and open­ing-up in 1978, in­come dis­tri­bu­tion con­tra­dic­tions that were left over from his­tory and in­trin­sic to a mar­ket-based econ­omy have eased in China, al­low­ing some peo­ple and re­gions to achieve pros­per­ity. But widen­ing in­come gaps have im­peded China’s eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity and vi­sion for a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects. Pros­per­ous in­di­vid­u­als and re­gions are yet to con­trib­ute more to com­mon pros­per­ity. Func­tional dis­tri­bu­tion dis­e­qui­lib­rium is an im­por­tant rea­son for and the root cause of this un­rea­son­able in­come dis­tri­bu­tion. Gen­er­ally, the cap­i­tal fac­tor tends to con­cen­trate, while the la­bor fac­tor tends to equal­ize. If the re­turn to la­bor is mea­gre, in­come gaps will widen (Zhang and Zhao, 2017). Since 2012, China’s em­ployee la­bor com­pen­sa­tion as a share in the GDP has in­creased but re­mains low in ab­so­lute terms. Such a dis­tri­bu­tion pat­tern is not fa­vor­able to work­ers. Both lim­ited share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion - a pri­mary house­hold in­come source - and slow wage growth have af­fected house­hold in­come growth. De­spite a high house­hold sav­ings rate, China’s cap­i­tal mar­kets are un­der­de­vel­oped, mak­ing it hard for the pub­lic to profit from cap­i­tal mar­kets. China is yet to cre­ate com­plete mech­a­nisms to share the ben­e­fits of its eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment to its peo­ple. Ef­fects of eco­nomic stim­u­lus poli­cies im­ple­mented in a pre­vi­ous stage have started to di­min­ish. Wage growth of the state sec­tor and in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion com­pa­nies has slowed. In 2017, China’s av­er­age real em­ployee wage de­creased de­spite the fair eco­nomic growth rate.

3.1 Share of La­bor Com­pen­sa­tion and Real Wage Level

Share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion refers to the la­bor com­pen­sa­tion of the em­ployee sec­tor as a share in value-added of the em­ployee sec­tor. Un­like the ru­ral house­hold econ­omy, in­di­vid­ual econ­omy and other forms of self-em­ployed econ­omy, mod­ern eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties take place in the form of cor­po­ra­tions, which hire work­ers and dis­trib­ute prof­its ac­cord­ing to cap­i­tal and la­bor fac­tors. In this sense, the mod­ern econ­omy is also known as the em­ployee econ­omy. Such a dis­tri­bu­tion re­la­tion­ship is usu­ally re­ferred to as func­tional dis­tri­bu­tion. Higher share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion means that work­ers ben­e­fit more from eco­nomic growth.

The to­tal amount of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion in an em­ployee econ­omy is de­ter­mined by two fac­tors: first, the wage level of the em­ploy­ees; sec­ond, the to­tal num­ber of em­ploy­ees. Be­hind these fac­tors, the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion is also in­flu­enced by the in­dus­trial struc­ture, tech­nol­ogy and many other fac­tors. Fol­low­ing the pre­vi­ous method (Zhang and Zhao, 2015), we cal­cu­lated the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion (see Fig­ure 1). Af­ter China’s WTO en­try, the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion was re­duced at first and then in­creased. From 2001 to 2011, the fall­ing share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion was pri­mar­ily driven by an over­sup­ply of la­bor and a fall­ing real wage level. Huge num­bers of sur­plus ru­ral la­bor mi­grated to cities and fueled the de­vel­op­ment of la­bor-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries. Due to an over­sup­ply of la­bor and a mea­gre wage level, the re­turn to cap­i­tal far ex­ceeded the re­turn to la­bor. De­spite an in­creas­ing num­ber of wage earn­ers and em­ploy­ees (see Fig­ure 2), the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion de­creased. With more than suf­fi­cient la­bor, China en­joyed a greater la­bor cost ad­van­tage in in­dus­tries with smaller shares of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion. The rel­a­tive ex­pan­sion of such in­dus­tries is an im­por­tant rea­son for the fall­ing share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion (Bai, 2008; Luo, Zhang, 2009). The in­dus­trial struc­ture was a key con­trib­u­tor to the chang­ing share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion (Sun, 2012; Zhou, 2014).

Af­ter the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008, the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion in China started to see an uptick due to changes in ex­ter­nal de­mand and in­ter­nal fac­tor struc­ture. The global fi­nan­cial cri­sis of 2008 se­ri­ously af­fected China’s ex­ports to de­vel­oped coun­tries. In 2006, the net ex­ports of goods and ser­vices con­trib­uted to 15.1% of China’s GDP growth, fol­lowed by fi­nal con­sumer spend­ing and ag­gre­gate cap­i­tal for­ma­tion vol­ume. From 2002 to 2007, this per­cent­age av­er­aged 5.5%. In 2009, how­ever, the net ex­ports of goods and ser­vices con­trib­uted to -42.6% of China’s GDP growth. From 2010 to 2016, the

拉大(张车伟和赵文,2017)。2012年以来,我国雇员劳动报酬占全部GDP的比例虽然有所提高,但绝对水平依然偏低,是一种对劳动者不十分有利的分配格局。作为居民的主要收入来源,劳动报酬份额偏低以及工资水平增长缓慢,都直接影响了居民收入增长。尽管我国居民的储蓄率较高,但资本市场不够发达,居民难以从资本市场上获取合理的收入。2017年,我国经济增长速度较快,但由于经济成果分享机制还不完善,以及前一时期经济刺激政策效应逐渐淡去、国有部门和基础设施建设单位的工资水平增长缓慢等原因,全国平均的雇员实际工资水平有所下降。

(一)劳动报酬份额与实际工资水平

劳动报酬份额是指雇员部门劳动报酬总额占雇员部门增加值的比重。与农户经济和个体经济等传统自雇经济不同,现代经济是以公司化方式组织经济活动的,劳动者和企业之间有明确的雇佣关系,因此经济活动获得的报酬能够按照资本要素和劳动要素的贡献进行分配,由此,现代经济可以被称为雇员经济。这种分配关系通常称为功能性分配。劳动报酬份额越大,劳动者分享经济增长的成果就越多。

雇员经济的劳动报酬总额由两个因素直接决定。一是雇员工资水平,二是雇员总数。在两者背后,是产业结构、技术变迁等一系列因素影响了劳动报酬份额。沿用之前的方法(张车伟和赵文,2015),我们计算了雇员经济部门的劳动报酬份额(见图1)。加入W T O之后,我国雇员经济部门的劳动报酬份额先降后升。2001年到

2011年,雇员经济部门劳动报酬份额下降的主要原因是劳动力供大于求,实际工资水平持续走低。那一时期,我国农村可转移人口数量巨大,他们进城务工之后,我国以劳动密集型产业为主力军的经济发展非常迅速。但是,由于劳动力供大于求,工资水平较低,经济增长的成果大部分归为了资本报酬,因此,尽管工薪就业者的数量不断增加、雇员化水平不断提高(见图2),但劳动报酬份额一直下降。在劳动力供大于求的局面下,劳动报酬份额越低的产业,劳动成本优势越明显。这些产业规模相对扩大是劳动报酬份额下降的重要原因(白重恩等,2008;罗长远、张军,2009),产业结构效应是劳动报酬份额变化的主要来源(孙文杰,2012;周明海, 2014)。

2008年国际金融危机之后,由于外部出口需求和内部要素结构的双重变化,我国劳动报酬份额逐渐回升。2008年国际金融危机使得发达国家的贸易支付能力受到很大影响,这对我国商品出口的影响非常明显。2006年,在最终消费支出、资本形成总额、货物和服务净出口三大需求中,货物和服务净出口对国内生产总值增长的贡献率一度达到15.1%,2002年到2007年平均达到了5.5%。而到了2009年,货物和服务净出口对国内生产总值增长的贡献率大幅度降到了负的42.6%。2010年到2016年,货物和服务净出口对国内生产总值增长的贡献率平均为负的3.4%。我国出口的商品主要是劳动密集型的,因此,能够吸纳大量就业的劳动密集型产业受到巨大冲击。国内产业逐渐向非劳动密集型产业转型。这一时期,我国内部要素结构也发生了变化。2012年前后,刘易斯转折点到来,新增劳动力数量逐渐缩小,15 ~ 64岁人口的数量下降,劳动力市场供求渐趋平

net ex­ports of goods and ser­vices con­trib­uted to -3.4% of China’s GDP growth. Most of China’s ex­port com­modi­ties are la­bor-in­ten­sive, which bore the brunt of fall­ing trade. This forced China to shift to­wards non-la­bor-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries. In this pe­riod, changes oc­curred in China’s in­ter­nal fac­tor struc­ture. With the Lewis turn­ing point around 2012, China’s la­bor growth slowed, and pop­u­la­tions aged be­tween 15 and 64 started to de­crease. La­bor mar­ket sup­ply and de­mand reached an equi­lib­rium. In­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal fac­tors caused low wages to be un­sus­tain­able. In the em­ployee econ­omy, the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion in­creased from 41.5% in 2011 to 46% in 2016. As a re­sult of a sta­ble work­force and ris­ing share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion, the nom­i­nal wage level of em­ploy­ees sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased, and the real wage level of em­ploy­ees slightly in­creased.

Fig­ure 3 shows real wage level mea­sured by the ra­tio be­tween em­ployee wage and per capita GDP. De­spite the ris­ing nom­i­nal wage and in­creas­ing pur­chas­ing power of wage rel­a­tive to com­mod­ity prices in the decade from 2003 to 2012, the wage level of the av­er­age em­ployee in China con­tin­ued to de­cline rel­a­tive to the eco­nomic growth rate. Rather than ben­e­fit­ing av­er­age work­ers, China’s eco­nomic growth was mostly con­verted into re­turn to cap­i­tal. This is the back­ground in which China’s pol­i­cy­mak­ers em­pha­sized that “la­bor com­pen­sa­tion must grow in sync with pro­duc­tiv­ity.” From 2011 to 2016, the real wage level of em­ploy­ees in­creased from 0.775 to 0.836, up 7.8%. Specif­i­cally, the real wage level of ur­ban em­ploy­ees in­creased by 8.5%, and the real wage level of other em­ploy­ees grew by 3.64%. In ad­di­tion, the real wage level of mi­grant work­ers rose by 8.1%.

In 2017, the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion and the real wage level of em­ploy­ees both de­clined. La­bor mar­ket ad­just­ment was be­hind these changes in eco­nomic per­for­mance. In the era of rapid eco­nomic growth, China’s wage growth tended to be slow. This caused the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion and the real wage level of em­ploy­ees to de­cline - ex­actly what hap­pened in 2017. In 2017, China’s GDP grew by

6.9%, faster than in the pre­vi­ous pe­riod. Specif­i­cally, the value-added of China’s ter­tiary in­dus­try grew by 8%; ter­tiary in­dus­try ac­counted for 45% of China’s to­tal em­ploy­ment. Ob­vi­ously, there was a sig­nif­i­cant lag in the la­bor mar­ket’s re­sponse to the chang­ing eco­nomic per­for­mance. In ad­di­tion, the di­min­ish­ing ef­fects of the eco­nomic stim­u­lus in the pre­vi­ous stage and the slow­ing growth of wage lev­els in the state sec­tor of the econ­omy and in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion com­pa­nies also con­trib­uted to the fall­ing share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion and the real wage level of em­ploy­ees in 2017.

3.2 Changes in the In­ter-Sec­toral Dis­tri­bu­tion Pat­tern

Ac­cord­ing to the cash flow data pub­lished by the Na­tional Bureau of Sta­tis­tics (NBS), we may cal­cu­late the changes in China’s in­come dis­tri­bu­tion pat­tern since 1992. Over the 1992-2008 pe­riod, gov­ern­ment in­come and en­ter­prise in­come as a share in pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion both in­creased. En­ter­prise in­come as a share in pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion in­creased from 17.37% to 25.26%, up 7.89 per­cent­age points, and gov­ern­ment in­come as a share in pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion rose from 16.57% to 17.52%, up al­most 1 per­cent­age point. In com­par­i­son, house­hold sec­tor in­come dropped from 66.06% to 57.23%, down 8.83 per­cent­age points. The fall­ing share of house­hold in­come in pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion is pri­mar­ily at­trib­ut­able to the ris­ing share of en­ter­prise in­come.

In­come af­ter pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion and re­dis­tri­bu­tion, such as in­come tax, so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions or ben­e­fits, so­cial relief and other cur­rent trans­fers, re­sults in dis­pos­able in­come and re­dis­tri­bu­tion of na­tional in­come. In­come tax is paid by the en­ter­prise and house­hold sec­tors to the gov­ern­ment. So­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions in­clude cor­po­rate and in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions. But in na­tional eco­nomic ac­count­ing, so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions are rec­og­nized as la­bor com­pen­sa­tion in pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion. In re­dis­tri­bu­tion, ag­gre­gate cor­po­rate and in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions are rec­og­nized as so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions of the house­hold sec­tor to the gov­ern­ment sec­tor. So­cial in­sur­ance ben­e­fits are gov­ern­ment trans­fers to house­holds. Since house­hold so­cial in­sur­ance con­tri­bu­tions in China have been higher than gov­ern­ment ex­pen­di­tures on so­cial pro­tec­tion, so­cial in­sur­ance is em­bod­ied as a net trans­fer from the house­hold sec­tor to the gov­ern­ment sec­tor. So­cial relief is a trans­fer pay­ment from the gov­ern­ment and en­ter­prise sec­tors to house­holds, and mainly com­prises gov­ern­ment sec­tor ex­pen­di­tures.

Af­ter re­dis­tri­bu­tion, China’s na­tional in­come dis­tri­bu­tion con­tin­ues to fea­ture ris­ing shares of en­ter­prise and gov­ern­ment in­comes and fall­ing shares of house­hold in­come. From 1992 to 1998, China’s cor­po­rate sec­tor share in na­tional in­come dis­tri­bu­tion in­creased from 11.70% to 21.60%, up 9.9 per­cent­age points; the gov­ern­ment sec­tor share rose from 19.96% to 21.28%, up 1.32 per­cent­age points; the house­hold sec­tor share dropped from 68.34% to 57.11%, down 11.23 per­cent­age points. Com­pared with the pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion pat­tern, re­dis­tri­bu­tion led to a re­duc­tion in cor­po­rate sec­tor in­come, an in­crease in gov­ern­ment sec­tor in­come, and a slight re­duc­tion in house­hold sec­tor in­come. Take 2008 for in­stance, the share of cor­po­rate sec­tor in­come was re­duced by 3.65 per­cent­age points, and the share of house­hold sec­tor in­come fell by 0.11 per­cent­age points, while the share of gov­ern­ment in­come in­creased by 3.77 per­cent­age points. Through re­dis­tri­bu­tion, China’s gov­ern­ment sec­tor re­ceived a higher share of in­come (see Ta­ble 8).

House­hold in­come as a share in to­tal na­tional in­come de­creased both in pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion and in re­dis­tri­bu­tion. In pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion, to­tal na­tional in­come dis­tri­bu­tion was tilted in fa­vor of the cor­po­rate sec­tor, and the in­crease of cor­po­rate sec­tor in­come ex­plains al­most 90% of the house­hold in­come re­duc­tion. The re­main­ing 10% is ex­plained by the ris­ing gov­ern­ment sec­tor in­come. In re­dis­tri­bu­tion, the gov­ern­ment sec­tor’s in­come as a share in the to­tal na­tional in­come fur­ther in­creased, the cor­po­rate sec­tor’s in­come de­creased, and the house­hold sec­tor’s in­come was slightly re­duced. Be­fore 2004, the share of the house­hold sec­tor’s in­come in re­dis­tri­bu­tion in­creased over pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion. Af­ter 2004, it de­creased by a lim­ited mar­gin. In 2008, for in­stance, the ris­ing share of the gov­ern­ment sec­tor’s in­come in the re­dis­tri­bu­tion stage was pri­mar­ily at­trib­ut­able to the fall­ing share of the cor­po­rate sec­tor’s in­come. In re­dis­tri­bu­tion, to­tal na­tional in­come dis­tri­bu­tion was fa­vor­able to the gov­ern­ment

af­ter re­dis­tri­bu­tion. In 2015, these fig­ures changed into -4.3%, 3.6% and 0.7%, re­spec­tively. Apart from re­dis­tri­bu­tion, the ris­ing share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion is also an im­por­tant rea­son be­hind the ris­ing share of the house­hold sec­tor’s in­come in the to­tal na­tional in­come. A ma­jor source of house­hold in­come is la­bor com­pen­sa­tion. In 2009, la­bor com­pen­sa­tion ac­counted for about 81% of house­hold dis­pos­able in­come. In 2015, this ra­tio in­creased to 84%. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, la­bor com­pen­sa­tion as a share in the na­tional GDP in­creased from 31.2% to 34.5%.

In sum­mary, be­fore 2009, the big­gest prob­lem in China’s in­come dis­tri­bu­tion was the fall­ing share of house­hold in­come in to­tal na­tional in­come. Sec­tor-wise, the fall­ing share of house­hold in­come was at­trib­ut­able to the in­creas­ing share of the cor­po­rate sec­tor’s in­come in pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion. From a re­dis­tri­bu­tion per­spec­tive, it was a re­sult of in­come dis­tri­bu­tion in fa­vor of the gov­ern­ment sec­tor. The main rea­son for the fall­ing share of house­hold in­come in the to­tal na­tional in­come is fall­ing la­bor com­pen­sa­tion, which is a pri­mary source of the house­hold sec­tor’s in­come, as a share in the GDP. De­spite the in­creas­ing share of cap­i­tal fac­tor in­come in the to­tal na­tional in­come, the cap­i­tal fac­tor in­come of the house­hold sec­tor de­creased. The rea­son is that ex­ist­ing cap­i­tal mar­ket rules pre­vent cap­i­tal fac­tor in­come from be­ing con­verted into house­hold in­come. The ris­ing share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion in the GDP since 2012 has been a key rea­son be­hind the in­creas­ing share of house­hold in­come in the to­tal na­tional in­come.

4. New Changes in House­hold In­come Gaps and In­ter­pre­ta­tion

The Gini co­ef­fi­cient, re­leased by the NBS, started to fall start­ing in 2009. It then in­creased to 0.465, but the change was lim­ited. Does that mean that China’s in­come gaps have tended to nar­row? We be­lieve that de­spite nar­row­ing ur­ban-ru­ral in­come gaps and re­gional in­come gaps, we can­not con­clude that China’s over­all in­come gaps have nar­rowed as a trend since un­re­ported in­come - an im­por­tant fac­tor that in­flu­ences the es­ti­ma­tion of the Gini co­ef­fi­cient - is not yet taken into ac­count. In re­cent years, about 20% of house­hold dis­pos­able in­come has not been cov­ered by ex­ist­ing house­hold sur­veys, and in 2015, 19.5% of house­hold dis­pos­able in­come was un­re­ported. Op­er­at­ing in­come and prop­erty in­come of high-in­come groups had the high­est sta­tis­ti­cal omis­sion rates. The fall­ing Gini co­ef­fi­cient since 2009 may have re­sulted from sta­tis­ti­cal omis­sions of high- in­come peo­ple. Af­ter tak­ing the “un­re­ported in­come” into ac­count, China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient in­creases by about 10 per­cent­age points. This im­plies that the in­come level of China’s high- in­come group is higher than sug­gested by the sta­tis­tics, and that ac­tual house­hold in­come gaps are even wider and thus re­quire greater pol­icy reg­u­la­tion.

4.1 Change in the Gini Co­ef­fi­cient

Quan­ti­ta­tive dis­tri­bu­tion refers to house­hold in­come gaps. In­come gaps can be mea­sured by the Gini co­ef­fi­cient, which ranges be­tween 0 and 1. A higher Gini co­ef­fi­cient in­di­cates a higher level of in­equal­ity. Ac­cord­ing to in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence, if the Gini co­ef­fi­cient of an econ­omy is be­low 0.3, in­come gaps in this econ­omy can be re­garded as very small. If the Gini co­ef­fi­cient is greater than 0.4, in­come gaps in this econ­omy can be re­garded as more sig­nif­i­cant and so­cial con­tra­dic­tions more acute. For coun­tries with rel­a­tively com­plete re­dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems such as those in West­ern and North­ern Europe, Aus­tralia, Ja­pan and South Korea, their Gini co­ef­fi­cients are usu­ally be­low 0.4, and their so­cial en­vi­ron­ment is more har­mo­nious and sta­ble. The Gini co­ef­fi­cient of Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries is of­ten above 0.5.

Ac­cord­ing to China’s cur­rent sta­tis­ti­cal method, house­hold dis­pos­able in­come data are used to cal­cu­late the Gini co­ef­fi­cient. Prior to the re­lease of the Gini co­ef­fi­cient by the NBS in 2013, many pri­vate sur­veys were car­ried out to es­ti­mate China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient. It is gen­er­ally be­lieved that China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient was very small and be­low 0.2 at the be­gin­ning of re­form and open­ing-up in 1978. Af­ter

1990, China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient started to rise, reach­ing 0.4 in 2000 and ap­proach­ing 0.5 in 2008. De­spite the lim­ited scale of pub­lic sur­veys, it re­flects a ba­sic fact that in­come gaps in China are widen­ing. This was ver­i­fied af­ter the re­lease of the Gini co­ef­fi­cient by the NBS.

China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient since 2003, ac­cord­ing to the NBS data, is shown in the fol­low­ing chart. In 2003, China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient reached 0.479. In 2008, this fig­ure rose to 0.491. In 2013, the State Coun­cil is­sued the Opin­ions on Deep­en­ing In­come Dis­tri­bu­tion Re­form to ad­dress the is­sue of widen­ing in­come gaps and other prob­lems re­lated to un­fair dis­tri­bu­tion. This doc­u­ment of­fers a com­pre­hen­sive and de­tailed de­scrip­tion of in­come dis­tri­bu­tion re­form pri­or­i­ties. With these ef­forts, China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient started to de­crease slightly in 2009. In 2015, the Gini co­ef­fi­cient of China’s house­hold dis­pos­able in­come reached 0.462, de­creas­ing for seven con­sec­u­tive years af­ter 2008. It was also the low­est since 2003. In 2016, how­ever, China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient in­creased again to 0.465.

Con­trol­ling the Gini co­ef­fi­cient to keep it within a rea­son­able range is a sym­bol of a coun­try’s mod­ern gov­er­nance. In some Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries with poor gov­er­nance, their Gini co­ef­fi­cient is well above 0.5. China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient has de­creased over re­cent years, but to a lim­ited ex­tent. It is still rather high com­pared with the U.S., Ja­pan and the U.K. Ac­cord­ing to OECD data, most OECD mem­bers had Gini co­ef­fi­cients around 0.3 in 2012. For in­stance, the Gini co­ef­fi­cient was 0.326 for Aus­tralia, 0.327 for Italy, 0.306 for France, 0307 for South Korea, 0.289 for Ger­many, 0.351 for the UK, and 0.390 for the U.S. China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient is higher com­pared with these coun­tries. Some rea­sons are re­lated to China’s de­vel­op­ment stage, while oth­ers are in­sti­tu­tional ones.

4.2 In­ter­pre­ta­tion of Fall­ing Gini Co­ef­fi­cient

Over re­cent years, China has been vig­or­ously ad­vanc­ing ur­ban­iza­tion and elim­i­nat­ing bar­ri­ers to the flow of fac­tors be­tween ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas to pro­mote bal­anced ur­ban and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment. As

a re­sult, ur­ban-ru­ral and in­ter­re­gional in­come gaps have nar­rowed. Nev­er­the­less, in­come gaps in China have con­tin­ued to in­crease as a re­sult of its de­vel­op­ment stage and in­sti­tu­tional fac­tors. Putting aside these fac­tors, the “un­re­ported in­come,” which is a prob­lem of China’s sta­tis­ti­cal sys­tem, casts doubt about the re­li­a­bil­ity of China’s of­fi­cial Gini co­ef­fi­cient.

The ques­tion is whether China’s in­come gaps have started to nar­row. We be­lieve that this con­clu­sion can­not be made, at least for now. An im­por­tant rea­son is that a sig­nif­i­cant amount of “un­re­ported in­come” has been out­side China’s na­tional in­come ac­count­ing sys­tem, blur­ring China’s in­come dis­tri­bu­tion pat­tern.

“Un­re­ported in­come” refers to house­hold in­come that can­not be dis­cov­ered by con­ven­tional house­hold sur­veys. This prob­lem has al­ways re­ceived a great deal of pub­lic at­ten­tion. Wang (2010) be­lieves that the amount of “im­plicit in­come” omit­ted from sta­tis­tics could be 9.26 tril­lion yuan, ac­count­ing for over 30% of China’s GDP in 2010. Gan (2013) con­sid­ers that house­hold in­come is sta­tis­ti­cally 93% of ac­tual in­come. “Un­re­ported in­come” can be di­vided into three parts: first, rea­son­able and law­ful in­come that is not ac­counted for in sta­tis­tics. Us­ing the Hu­run List, Forbes List and in­for­ma­tion about the ex­ec­u­tive pay of listed com­pa­nies, Li and Luo (2011) es­ti­mated the in­come of high-in­come groups and its im­pact on China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient. They dis­cov­ered an in­crease of China’s ur­ban Gini co­ef­fi­cient by nine per­cent­age points and an in­crease of China’s na­tional Gini co­ef­fi­cient by five per­cent­age points in 2007. Bai (2015) be­lieves that 65% of house­hold in­come was omit­ted on av­er­age from 2002 to 2009, and im­plicit in­come ac­counted for 19% to 25% of China’s GDP from 2002 to 2009. China’s ur­ban Gini co­ef­fi­cient was 0.5, rather than 0.34 as re­leased by the NBS. An­other source of un­re­ported in­come is un­law­ful and ab­nor­mal in­come. Res­i­dents are un­will­ing to dis­close such in­come, which is highly con­cealed. There­fore, the avail­abil­ity and ac­cu­racy of in­for­ma­tion presents the big­gest bar­rier to rel­e­vant stud­ies. Us­ing in­for­ma­tion pub­lished by law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties, Chen and Zhou (2001) es­ti­mated the size of un­law­ful and ab­nor­mal in­come, as well as its im­pact on the Gini co­ef­fi­cient. They

dis­cov­ered an in­crease in China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient by 9 per­cent­age points in 1997. The third part of un­re­ported in­come is vir­tual in­come. Vir­tual in­come mainly refers to prop­erty-re­lated house­hold in­come from pro­pri­etary hous­ing ser­vices. Ac­cord­ing to Yang and Dang (2017), af­ter vir­tual rent is in­cor­po­rated into China’s na­tional house­hold in­come sta­tis­tics, the house­hold in­come gaps have gen­er­ally nar­rowed.

These stud­ies pro­vide valu­able ref­er­ences for our un­der­stand­ing of “re­ported in­come.” Us­ing the NBS Cash Flow State­ments, Zhang and Zhao (2018) es­ti­mated the size and struc­ture of China’s “un­re­ported in­come” from 1992 to 2014. Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est sta­tis­ti­cal in­for­ma­tion, China’s “un­re­ported in­come” was 7.33 tril­lion yuan in 2015, with a sta­tis­ti­cal omis­sion rate of 19.5%, ac­count­ing for 10.6% of the GDP. Such in­come be­longed pri­mar­ily to the high-in­come group (Fig­ure 6).

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, the high-in­come group is the most likely to earn “un­re­ported in­come” and the most mo­ti­vated to con­ceal their in­come. The high-in­come group also has so­phis­ti­cated means to evade tax. On the con­trary, the low-in­come group has lit­tle wealth to con­ceal. Huang Qi­fan, vice chair­man of the Fi­nan­cial and Eco­nomic Af­fairs Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress (NPC), men­tioned that “some peo­ple work in the Chi­nese Main­land but re­ceive salaries from overseas ac­counts or re­tain their per­sonal wealth in their com­pa­nies with­out re­ceiv­ing salaries” in or­der to avoid tax1. Ob­vi­ously, such tax avoid­ance is be­yond the means of or­di­nary work­ers. This “un­re­ported in­come” of high-in­come groups in­evitably af­fects China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient in sig­nif­i­cant ways.

With­out na­tional mi­cro­scopic sur­vey data, we can­not es­ti­mate the im­pact of “un­re­ported in­come” on China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient. Nev­er­the­less, we may pro­vide some as­sump­tions for dis­cus­sion. The first

pos­si­bil­ity is that “un­re­ported in­come” has a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the trend of China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient and re­verses its down­ward trend. Ur­ban-ru­ral in­te­grated house­hold sur­veys car­ried out by the NBS in 2012 aimed to ad­dress the sta­tis­ti­cal prob­lems of house­hold dis­pos­able in­come, par­tic­u­larly the ac­count­ing of ru­ral mi­grant work­ers’ in­come. We have rea­son to as­sume that es­ti­mated lower rate of sta­tis­ti­cal omis­sions since 2012 did not re­sult from im­prov­ing the in­come sta­tis­tics of high-in­come groups, i.e. sta­tis­ti­cal omis­sion of in­come re­port­ing still widely ex­ists among the high-in­come groups. This ob­vi­ously has a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient. An­other pos­si­bil­ity is that “un­re­ported in­come” has a lim­ited im­pact on China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient. How­ever, con­sid­er­ing the huge amount of “un­re­ported in­come” and the slow growth of China’s mid­dle-in­come groups, we tend to be­lieve that China’s ac­tual Gini co­ef­fi­cient may still linger at a high level with­out any down­ward trend.

5. Con­clud­ing Re­marks

Since re­form and open­ing-up in 1978, China’s in­come dis­tri­bu­tion con­tra­dic­tions left over from his­tory and in­trin­sic to a mar­ket-based econ­omy have con­tin­u­ously deep­ened. Widen­ing house­hold in­come gaps have be­come a hin­drance to China’s eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity and vi­sion of build­ing a mod­er­ately pros­per­ous so­ci­ety in all re­spects. Specif­i­cally, func­tional dis­tri­bu­tion dis­e­qui­lib­rium is a ma­jor rea­son for and source of un­equal in­come dis­tri­bu­tion. In pri­mary dis­tri­bu­tion, the share of la­bor com­pen­sa­tion re­mains low and is un­fa­vor­able to work­ers; wage growth also is slow - both have af­fected house­hold in­come growth. House­hold in­come ac­counts for about 54% of China’s to­tal na­tional in­come. De­spite slight in­creases over re­cent years, it is far from reach­ing a rea­son­able level.

Un­rea­son­able dis­tri­bu­tion has nat­u­rally brought about sig­nif­i­cant in­come gaps. Ac­cord­ing to the NBS, China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient started to fall in 2009, reach­ing 0.462 in 2015. De­spite an in­crease to 0.465 in 2016, the change was lim­ited. The ques­tion is, can we con­clude that China’s in­come gaps have de­vel­oped a down­ward trend? In our view, fall­ing ur­ban-ru­ral in­come gaps as a pos­i­tive sign can­not be re­garded as a trend to­wards fall­ing in­come gaps since “un­re­ported in­come” that sig­nif­i­cantly af­fects the Gini co­ef­fi­cient is not yet taken into ac­count. Over re­cent years, about 20% of house­hold dis­pos­able in­come is not cov­ered by ex­ist­ing house­hold sur­veys. In 2015, the sta­tis­ti­cal omis­sion rate was 19.5%. Op­er­at­ing in­come and prop­erty in­come of high-in­come groups had the high­est omis­sion rates. The fall­ing Gini co­ef­fi­cient since 2009 may have re­sulted from the sta­tis­ti­cal omis­sion of in­come of high-in­come groups. If “un­re­ported in­come” is in­cluded in the es­ti­ma­tion of the Gini co­ef­fi­cient, China’s Gini co­ef­fi­cient would have in­creased by a large mar­gin. In this sense, the in­come level of China’s high-in­come groups is higher than sta­tis­tics sug­gest, and more ef­fec­tive pol­icy reg­u­la­tion is re­quired to ad­just the in­come gaps.

We must bring into full play the de­ci­sive role of the mar­ket to cre­ate a rea­son­able and orderly dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem, so that house­hold in­come growth keeps pace with eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and la­bor com­pen­sa­tion grows in tan­dem with pro­duc­tiv­ity. To en­sure rea­son­able re­turn to all types of fac­tors, we must ad­just in­come gaps in the re­dis­tri­bu­tion and pro­mote in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment and com­mon pros­per­ity for all peo­ple.

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