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Cost Competitiveness Comparisons and Convergence in China

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  • Lili Kang

    ()
    (Tsinghua University, Beijing.)

  • Peng Fei

    (Centre of Research on the Economy and the Workplace (CREW), University of Birmingham.)

Abstract

We investigate trends in regional cost competitiveness in China's four regions (Coastal, Northeast, Interior and West) over the past thirty-five years. We find that the Coastal region lost its initial cost competitiveness as its higher relative labour productivity (RLP) was offset by rapidly rising relative nominal labour costs (RNLC) due to rising wages. The Northeastern region still has cost advantages in the traditional Manufacturing sector. The Interior and West regions improved their competitiveness in most industries due to low RNLCs. There is convergence of relative unit labour cost (RULC) in all industries before 1995, but only in Finance after 1995. However there is convergence in RLP in five industries in 1978–95 and 1995–2009, offering prospects for robust growth for China into the future.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its journal National Institute Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 223 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: R49-R60

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Handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:223:y:2013:i:1:p:r49-r60

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Keywords: Unit labour cost; regional development planning; China;

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  1. Fleisher, Belton & Li, Haizheng & Zhao, Min Qiang, 2010. "Human capital, economic growth, and regional inequality in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 215-231, July.
  2. van Ark, Bart, 1998. "Productivity," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 171-174, June.
  3. Ark, Bart van & Stuivenwold, Edwin & Ypma, Gerard, 2005. "Unit labour costs, productivity and international competitiveness," GGDC Research Memorandum 200580, Groningen Growth and Development Centre, University of Groningen.
  4. Adam Szirmai & Ruoen Ren & Manyin Bai, 2005. "Chinese Manufacturing Performance in Comparative Perspective, 1980-2002," Working Papers 920, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  5. Vivian W. Chen & Harry X. Wu & Bart van Ark, 2009. "More Costly Or More Productive? Measuring Changes In Competitiveness In Manufacturing Across Regions In China," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(s1), pages 514-537, 07.
  6. Appleton, Simon & Knight, John & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2002. "Labor retrenchment in China: Determinants and consequences," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 252-275.
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Cited by:
  1. Françoise Lemoine & Grégoire Mayo & Sandra Poncet & Deniz Ünal, 2014. "The Geographic Pattern of China's Growth and Convergence within Industry," Working Papers 2014-04, CEPII research center.

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