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China's investment and rate of return on capital revisited

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  • Tang, Ya
  • Xu, Jianguo
  • Zhang, Xun

Abstract

We revisit China's suspected overinvestment problem by examining the rate of return on capital from two perspectives. First, we find that two existing methods of estimating the rate of return generate conflicting results, and we succeed in reconciling them. Our revised estimates show that the rate of return rose sharply from 1998 to 2014, which helps explain the strong investment drive. Second, we explore what caused the rate of return to rise. We find the explanation lies mainly with the long-term factor of rising total factor productivity but that the short-term cyclical factor of low real interest rates has also contributed.

Suggested Citation

  • Tang, Ya & Xu, Jianguo & Zhang, Xun, 2017. "China's investment and rate of return on capital revisited," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 12-25.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:asieco:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:12-25
    DOI: 10.1016/j.asieco.2017.02.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Guo, Shen & Shi, Yingying, 2018. "Infrastructure investment in China: A model of local government choice under land financing," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 24-35.
    2. Wang, Feng & Liu, Xiying & Nguyen, Tue Anh, 2018. "Evaluating the economic impacts and feasibility of China's energy cap: Based on an Analytic General Equilibrium Model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 114-126.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Overinvestment; Capital return; Total factor productivity; Real interest rate; Financial development;

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General

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