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Who Shrunk China? Puzzles in the Measurement of Real GDP

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  • Robert C. Feenstra
  • Hong Ma
  • J. Peter Neary
  • D.S. Prasada Rao

Abstract

The latest World Bank estimates of real GDP per capita for China are significantly lower than previous ones. We review possible sources of this puzzle and conclude that it reflects a combination of factors, including substitution bias in consumption, reliance on urban prices which we estimate are higher than rural ones, and the use of an expenditure-weighted rather than an output-weighted measure of GDP. Taking all these together, we estimate that real per-capita GDP in China was 50% higher relative to the U.S. in 2005 than the World Bank estimates.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17729.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
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Publication status: published as Robert C. Feenstra & Hong Ma & J. Peter Neary & D.S. Prasada Rao, 2013. "Who Shrunk China? Puzzles in the Measurement of Real GDP," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(12), pages 1100-1129, December.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17729

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  1. Balk,Bert M., 2008. "Price and Quantity Index Numbers," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521889070.
  2. Diewert, W. E. & Wales, T. J., 1988. "A normalized quadratic semiflexible functional form," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 327-342, March.
  3. Barnett, William A. & Erwin Diewert, W. & Zellner, Arnold, 2011. "Introduction to measurement with theory," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 161(1), pages 1-5, March.
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Cited by:
  1. John Morrow & Michael Carter, 2013. "Left, Right, Left: Income, Learning and Political Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 19498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jean Fouré & Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Lionel Fontagné, 2012. "The Great Shift: Macroeconomic projections for the world economy at the 2050 horizon," Working Papers 2012-03, CEPII research center.
  3. Anderson, Kym & Strutt, Anna, 2012. "The changing geography of world trade: Projections to 2030," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 303-323.
  4. Jean Fouré & Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Lionel Fontagné, 2013. "Modelling the world economy at the 2050 horizon," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique", HAL hal-00975545, HAL.
  5. repec:hal:journl:hal-00975545 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Jean Fouré & Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Lionel Fontagné, 2013. "Modelling the world economy at the 2050 horizon," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 21(4), pages 617-654, October.

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