chapter  11
Reexamining the Distribution of Wealth in Rural China
Pages 31

Since the time of the classical political economists, the role of wealth and its distri­ bution has figured centrally in understanding the dynamics of economic develop­ ment. Prominent issues such as the distribution of income and the incidence and severity of poverty have been linked to wealth distribution,1 as have such consid­ erations as the long-term rate of growth and the dynamic efficiency of the economy. Indeed even neoclassical economists, long advocates of the separability of equity and efficiency concerns, have recently demonstrated a renewed attention to the distribution of wealth and its role in the development process.2 Yet analyses of the distribution of wealth in developing countries are exceedingly rare. Moreover, where carried out, they seldom offer a comprehensive treatment of all productive assets, and often suffer ffom substantial shortcomings in their definitions or data, or both.3