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Measuring Productivity Performance by Industry in China, 1980-2005


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  • Harry X. Wu


Using the author’s recently constructed data set, this article measures the productivity performance of China’s 19 manufacturing industries, four mining industries, plus utilities, over the reform period 1980-2005. The approach is based on neoclassical assumptions on institutional settings and behavior of agents. Some of these assumptions are questionable in the case of China, but the results can be used as a starting point for further investigation. We find that the post-reform industrial growth in China had been largely investment-driven and inefficient until the 2000-05 period. Following China’s accession to WTO in 2001, Chinese industry experienced the best performance in TFP, accounting for 50 per cent of the growth of industrial value added. However, the mining sector had been most inefficient and had not yet shown a clear sign of improvement by 2005. Traditional labour intensive manufacturing did not appear to be efficient as suggested by the theory of comparative advantage, but there was a sign of significant improvement in 2000-05. By contrast, the capital and technology-intensive industries engaged in consumer goods manufacturing were most efficient throughout the entire period, apparently due to continuous foreign direct investment, high exposure to international competition and less state intervention.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Centre for the Study of Living Standards in its journal International Productivity Monitor.

Volume (Year): 15 (2007)
Issue (Month): (Fall)
Pages: 55-74

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Handle: RePEc:sls:ipmsls:v:15:y:2007:4

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Keywords: Productivity in China; National accounts; Growth accounting; Labour productivity; Total factor productivity.;

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  1. Jefferson, Gary H. & Rawski, Thomas G. & Zheng, Yuxin, 1996. "Chinese Industrial Productivity: Trends, Measurement Issues, and Recent Developments," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 146-180, October.
  2. Chow, Gregory C, 1993. "Capital Formation and Economic Growth in China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 809-42, August.
  3. Zuliu F. Hu & Mohsin S. Khan, 1997. "Why Is China Growing So Fast?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(1), pages 103-131, March.
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