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Patterns of Inequalities in Public Transfers by Gender in China


Shen, Ke; Wang, Feng; & Cai, Yong (2016). Patterns of Inequalities in Public Transfers by Gender in China. Journal of the Economics of Ageing, 8, 76-84. PMCID: PMC6652223


This paper offers an empirical examination of gender inequality in China based on public transfers in education, health care and pension benefits over the lifecycle. Using data from the 2010 wave of China Family Panel Studies and administrative records, we apply the internationally comparable method of National Transfer Accounts to estimate incidences and patterns of public transfers by gender. Our results show that, while public health care and pension transfers are remarkably biased against women at old ages, public education transfers are essentially gender-neutral even at the tertiary education level. Gender inequality among older cohorts is largely a legacy of past occupational and earning privileges for males, and the fragmented design of China’s health insurance and pension programs. With increasing female advantage in education and a gradual unification of China’s social security system, gender gaps in public transfers in China are likely to narrow, though by no means disappear, in the coming years.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of the Economics of Ageing


Shen, Ke
Wang, Feng
Cai, Yong