Decomposing polarisation across developing countries: Case study of China, India, and Indonesia

A. Muttaqien*, C. O'Donoghue, D. Sologon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We investigate the contributions of various factors in the differences in polarisation across China, India, and Indonesia using micro-simulation and decomposition methods. Using household expenditure from harmonised data from these countries, China was found to have the highest polarisation, while India has the lowest. Using India as the base country, the differences in the labour market structures in India and Indonesia have a slightly decreasing effect on polarisation. The effects of the differences in demographic composition and expenditure structures/parameters, however, are uncertain. Further, the differences in polarisation between China and Indonesia can be explained mostly by the differences in the expenditure structures. China's expenditure structure tends to increase polarisation, as evidenced by the resulting reduction in the size of the middle class.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-61
Number of pages18
JournalAsian-Pacific Economic Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

JEL classifications

  • d63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"


  • income polarization
  • inequalities
  • politics


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