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Assessing the Role of Technology Adoption in China's Growth Performance

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  • Nadja Wirz

    (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland)

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    Abstract

    China has experienced a period of tremendous economic growth in recent years. In an attempt to explain this development, several existing growth-accounting studies reveal that impressively high rates of productivity growth have been at the heart of China's performance. This study investigates to what extent these productivity increases can be explained by technology-adoption theory. In less developed countries, the key element behind technological progress is technology adoption, the process of copying technological knowledge invented throughout the world. To uncover a measure of China's technological advances, the paper constructs a hybrid of some prominent technology-adoption models and calibrates it to reasonable parameter values. The calibrated version of the model is then combined with Chinese economic data. For the period 1978-2005, the analysis finds that the Chinese performance can be explained to a surprisingly large extent by the suggested technology-adoption framework. It can account for roughly 80% of China's productivity gains.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 2008-06.

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    Length: 38 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:08-06

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    Keywords: technological progress; technology adoption; TFP; China;

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    1. Easterly, William & King, Robert G & Levine, Ross & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Policy, Technology Adoption and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 957, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Chong-En Bai & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Yingyi Qian, 2006. "The Return to Capital in China," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(2), pages 61-102.
    3. Psacharopoulos, George, 1994. "Returns to investment in education: A global update," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(9), pages 1325-1343, September.
    4. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," Working Papers 09-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    5. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Quality Ledders In The Theory Of Growth," Papers 148, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    6. George Psacharopoulos & Harry Anthony Patrinos, 2004. "Returns to investment in education: a further update," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 111-134.
    7. Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2007. "Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India," NBER Working Papers 12943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. David E. Bloom & David Canning & Jaypee Sevilla, 2002. "Technological Diffusion, Conditional Convergence, and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 8713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Diego A. Comin & Bart Hobijn, 2008. "An Exploration of Technology Diffusion," Harvard Business School Working Papers 08-093, Harvard Business School.
    10. Sadik, Jacques, 2008. "Technology adoption, convergence, and divergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 338-355, February.
    11. Ben S. Bernanke & Refet S. Gürkaynak, 2002. "Is Growth Exogenous? Taking Mankiw, Romer, and Weil Seriously," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2001, Volume 16, pages 11-72 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "Economic Growth, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262025531, December.
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