NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Weihong Zeng

Jinhe Center for Economic Research
Center for Aging and Health Research
Xi'an Jiaotong University
No.28 West Xianning Road
Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, 710049
P. R. CHINA

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Xi'an Jiaotong University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2020Persistence through Revolutions
with Alberto F. Alesina, Marlon Seror, David Y. Yang, Yang You: w27053
The Chinese Communist Revolution in the 1950s and Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 aimed to eradicate inequality in wealth and education, to shut off intergenerational transmission, and to eliminate cultural differences in the population. Using newly digitized archival data and linked contemporary household surveys and census, we show that the revolutions were effective in homogenizing the population economically and culturally in the short run. However, the pattern of inequality that characterized the pre-revolution generation re-emerges today. Grandchildren of the pre-revolution elites earn 17 percent more than those from non-elite households. In addition, the grandchildren of pre-revolution elites differ in their cultural values: they are less averse to inequality, more individuali...
 
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