Xi Chen: Economic Reform in China Needs to Address Cultural Norms

Professor Xi Chen recently published an op-ed in China-US Focus on relative status concern and public policy in China. In the post, Chen looks at rising income inequality in the country and the effect it has had on the lower classes, from poorer health outcomes to lesser marriage rates for lower class men. He points out the history of rigid hierarchy in Chinese society.  

“Status concern has been culturally important to the Chinese population as reflected in the traditional saying “it is better to be the head of a chicken than the tail of a phoenix.”

Looking foward, he suggests taxing luxury consumption to offset some of the disparity and implementing certain public policies to equalize opportunity.

Dr. Xi Chen is an assistant professor of public health and economics, and faculty of arts and sciences at Yale University. Dr. Chen is also a faculty fellow at the Yale Global Health and the Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies.

Area of study 
Poverty & Inequality