Beyond Special Privileges: The Discretionary Treatment of Ethnic Minorities in China's Welfare System

  • Journal of Social Policy, July 2017, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/s0047279417000381

What is it about?

This study examines whether ethnic minorities in China experience differential treatment in the welfare system. In particular, we examine the dibao system (a form of welfare) and the medical insurance scheme for urban residents. We find that minority participation in the discretionary program (the dibao) is higher than in the compulsory program (the medical insurance program).

Why is it important?

Our finding suggests that minorities are more heavily catered to in discretionary programs because they represent a greater threat of unrest to the state and are therefore given priority access to welfare resources. When all residents are compulsorily included in a program, there is less scope to favor minorities for stability reasons.

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The following have contributed to this page: Reza Hasmath and Andrew MacDonald