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Market Integration and Economic Development: A Long-run Comparison

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  • Wolfgang Keller
  • Carol H. Shiue

Abstract

How much of China's recent economic performance can be attributed to market-oriented reforms introduced in the last two decades? A long-run perspective may be important for understanding the process of economic development occurring today. This paper compares the integration of rice markets in China today and 270 years ago. In the eighteenth century, transport technology was non-mechanized, but markets were close to being free. We distinguish local harvest and weather from aggregate sources of price variation in a historical sample and in a similarly constructed contemporary sample. Findings indicate the degree of market integration in the 1720s is a very good predictor of per capita income in the 1990s. Moreover, the current pattern of interregional income in China is strongly linked to persistent geographic factors that were already apparent several centuries ago, well before the enactment of modern reform programs. Copyright � 2007 The Authors; Journal compilation � 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 11 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 107-123

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Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:11:y:2007:i:1:p:107-123

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  1. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor's Edge: Distortions and Incremental Reform in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 7828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Qinghua Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 2011. "Regional Inequality in Contemporary China," CEMA Working Papers 518, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Liu, Bo & Keyzer, Michiel & van den Boom, Bart & Zikhali, Precious, 2012. "How connected are Chinese farmers to retail markets? New evidence of price transmission," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 34-46.
  3. Chao Li & John Gibson, 2013. "Spatial Price Differences and Inequality in China: Housing Market Evidence," Working Papers in Economics 13/06, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  4. Wolfgang Keller & Ben Li & Carol H. Shiue, 2011. "China’s Foreign Trade: Perspectives From the Past 150 Years," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(6), pages 853-892, 06.

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