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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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Suggested Citation

  • 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:ecj:econjl:v:123:y:2013:i:12:p:1100-1129
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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