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Towards a new Chinese welfare state‚ perceptions about distributive justice in China

See Norwegian version for more information on the project.



Hundens år – starten på en ny æra for Kina. Fafo-frokost, 15. februar 2018.

Krigen mot fattigdom. Op-ed by Kristin Dalen in Dagens Næringsliv, 16. september, 2017.


The research project focuses on how Chinese citizens’ experiences, preferences, norms and values relate to different types on inequality and the development of China’s social security regime. It is well-established that China has seen rapid growth in inequalities since the Reform and Opening up started 40 years ago. How Chinese citizens perceive inequalities is less understood. The conventional view in discussions about welfare in China is that despite great progress in improving living conditions and reducing poverty, large segments of the population are dissatisfied with increasing inequalities and see current distribution systems as unfair. However, some studies indicate the opposite, documenting widespread acceptance of inequalities and belief in market based distribution principles in China.

The project aims to provide more knowledge and research in this field through collecting and analysing data on how Chinese citizens see these issues. In the summer of 2014 the project undertook a national survey of perceptions of distributive justice in China. The survey builds on and is comparable to previous studies of perceptions on inequality and distributive injustice in China conducted by Harvard University and Beijing University in 2004 and 2009. In addition, experiments exploring normative dilemmas in welfare design has been conducted for different age groups in China. The project has also implemented a survey module in German and American surveys to allow for international comparisons of the results.


for the project is provided by the Norwegian Research Council, with additional funding granted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the University of Bergen and the Centre for Experimental Research on Fairness, inequality and Rationality.

Logosamling kinaside

forskningsraadet The project is part of the Norwegian Research Council Programme for Welfare, Working Life and Migration Research (VAM).