Inter-regional spillovers in China: The importance of common shocks and the definition of the regions
This paper examines the question of inter-regional spillovers in China. We argue that this is a central question in Chinese economic policy, given the marked regional disparities that exist and the concern of policy-makers to ameliorate them. We analyse this question within the framework of a six-region vector-autoregressive model which we subject to extensive sensitivity analysis, with particular attention paid to the effects on the results of strong common output movements. We find the results of dynamic simulations to be importantly dependent on model specification; in particular, they are sensitive to the order in which the variables enter the model. After an assessment of various alternatives, we are able to specify a model with tolerable robustness by using data which has been purged of the effects of national output fluctuations. We find some expected but also some unexpected results. In the first category, the Yellow River and Changjiang River regions are found to have spillover effects on other regions although they are more extensive for the former; the South Western region has no significant spillover effects on the rest of the country, consistently with the results of previous research. However, in contrast both to other research and to our expectations, shocks to the South East region affect mainly the region itself with little spillover to the other regions. The same is true of the North East region while the North West region has extensive spillovers to other regions. We conclude that there is still much to be learned about the magnitude and timing of inter-regional spillovers before firm policy conclusions can be drawn.
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