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China's economic fluctuations and consumption smoothing: Is consumption more volatile than output in China?

  • Zhao, Min
  • Hsu, Minchung

This paper provides a fundamental study of China's consumption and output fluctuations. The most recent literature reports that, in the post-1978 period, detrended consumption is significantly more volatile than detrended output in China. This indicates the inability to impose consumption smoothing. However, in those previous studies, consumption of durables, which has some features of capital, as discussed in the real business cycle literature, was not separated from private consumption. This paper is the first to estimate consumer durables for China and their service values following the method introduced in Cooley and Prescott (1995). We adjust the consumption measure to make it consistent with the real business cycle literature, and find that consumption of durables is much more volatile than output, but non-durable consumption is less volatile than, and less correlated with, output that provides evidence that supports consumption smoothing in China.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 23 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 918-927

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Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:4:p:918-927
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

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  1. Ravn, Morten O & Uhlig, Harald, 2001. "On Adjusting the HP-Filter for the Frequency of Observations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2858, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. He, Qing & Tai-Leung Chong, Terence & Shi, Kang, 2009. "What accounts for Chinese Business Cycle?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 650-661, December.
  3. Chow, Gregory C, 1993. "Capital Formation and Economic Growth in China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 809-42, August.
  4. Boyreau-Debray, Genevieve & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2004. "Pitfalls of a State-Dominated Financial System: The Case of China," CEPR Discussion Papers 4471, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Chow, Gregory C & Li, Kui-Wai, 2002. "China's Economic Growth: 1952-2010," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 247-56, October.
  6. Chong-En Bai & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Yingyi Qian, 2006. "The Return to Capital in China," NBER Working Papers 12755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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