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The Higher Educational Transformation of China and Its Global Implications

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  • Yao Li
  • John Whalley
  • Shunming Zhang
  • Xiliang Zhao

Abstract

This paper documents the major transformation of higher education that has been underway in China since 1999 and evaluates its potential global impacts. Reflecting China's commitment to continued high growth through quality upgrading and the production of ideas and intellectual property as set out in both the 10th (2001-2005) and 11th (2006-2010) five-year plans, this transformation focuses on major new resource commitments to tertiary education and also embodies significant changes in organizational form. This focus on tertiary education differentiates the Chinese case from other countries who earlier at similar stages of development instead stressed primary and secondary education. The number of undergraduate and graduate students in China has been grown at approximately 30% per year since 1999, and the number of graduates at all levels of higher education in China has approximately quadrupled in the last 6 years. The size of entering classes of new students and total student enrollments have risen even faster, and have approximately quintupled. Prior to 1999 increases in these areas were much smaller. Much of the increased spending is focused on elite universities, and new academic contracts differ sharply from earlier ones with no tenure and annual publication quotas often used. All of these changes have already had large impacts on China's higher educational system and are beginning to be felt by the wider global educational structure. We suggest that even more major impacts will follow in the years to come and there are implications for global trade both directly in ideas, and in idea derived products. These changes, for now, seem relatively poorly documented in literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13849.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Publication status: published as Yao Amber Li & John Whalley & Shunming Zhang & Xiliang Zhao, 2011. "The Higher Educational Transformation of China and Its Global Implications," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 516-545, 04.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13849

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  1. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J. & Vytlacil, Edward, 2010. "Estimating Marginal Returns to Education," IZA Discussion Papers 5275, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Whalley, John & Zhang, Shunming, 2007. "A numerical simulation analysis of (Hukou) labour mobility restrictions in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 392-410, July.
  3. Belton M. Fleisher & Haizheng Li & Shi Li & Xiaojun Wang, 2000. "Sorting, Selection, and Transformation of the Return to College Education In China," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp756, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  4. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & Paul Glewwe & Li Guo, 2000. "Markets, Human Capital, and Inequality: Evidence from Rural China," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 298, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  5. Richard B. Freeman, 2006. "People Flows in Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 145-170, Spring.
  6. Yaohui Zhao, 1997. "Labor Migration and Returns to Rural Education in China," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(4), pages 1278-1287.
  7. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  8. Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data," NBER Working Papers 9108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. John Whalley & Xian Xin, 2006. "China's FDI and Non-FDI Economies and the Sustainability of Future High Chinese Growth," NBER Working Papers 12249, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Arrow, Kenneth J., 1973. "Higher education as a filter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 193-216, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Richard G. Harris & Peter E. Robertson & Jessica Y. Xu, 2010. "The International Effects of China's Growth, Trade and Ecucation Booms," Economics Discussion / Working Papers, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics 10-04, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
  2. Hălăngescu, Constantin I., 2012. "Mundus academicus: arhitectura și adaptarea la fluxurile globalizării (I)
    [Mundus academicus: architecture and adaptation to globalization flows (I)]
    ," MPRA Paper 36839, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Bai, Chong-en & Chi, Wei, 2011. "Determinants of undergraduate GPAs in China: college entrance examination scores, high school achievement, and admission route," MPRA Paper 31240, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Zhang, Ying & Duysters, Geert, 2010. "Entrepreneurship Development and the Role of Economic Transition in Entrepreneurial Activities in China," MERIT Working Papers 036, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  5. John Whalley & Xiliang Zhao, 2013. "The Contribution Of Human Capital To China'S Economic Growth," China Economic Policy Review (CEPR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 1350001-1-1.
  6. Yitao Jiang & Xiaojun Shi & Shunming Zhang & Jingjing Ji, 2011. "The threshold effect of high-level human capital investment on China's urban-rural income gap," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(3), pages 297-320, September.
  7. Bai, Chong-en & Chi, Wei & Xiaoye, Qian, 2013. "Do College Entrance Examination Scores Predict Undergraduate GPAs? A Tale of Two Universities," MPRA Paper 48731, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Xi Zhu & John Whalley & Xiliang Zhao, 2013. "Intergenerational Transfer, Human Capital and Long-term Growth in China under the One Child Policy," NBER Working Papers 19160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Li, Shi & Xing, Chunbing, 2010. "China's Higher Education Expansion and its Labor Market Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 4974, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Xing, Chunbing & Li, Shi, 2012. "Residual wage inequality in urban China, 1995–2007," China Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 205-222.
  11. Wang, Le, 2012. "Economic transition and college premium in urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 238-252.
  12. Jaejoon Woo, 2012. "Technological Upgrading in China and India: What Do We Know?," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 308, OECD Publishing.

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