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A cost-benefit analysis for the economic growth in China

  • Wen, Zongguo
  • Chen, Jining
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    Currently, traditional development issues such as income inequality, depletion of natural resources, environmental pollution as well as retardation of infrastructure have occurred in China. In the future, more pressures would be imposed on China by the continuous fast development of industrialization, and with transfer of the world manufacture center to China. Sustainable development, including its economic, environmental and social elements, is a key goal of decisionmakers. This paper develops a methodology on cost benefit analysis of economic growth at macroscopic level to identify issues of China's sustainability. In order to address some important issues on how to make policies to improve the quality of economic growth, the CBA framework developed in this study analyses economic-ecological-social interaction, building three accounts that reflect three dimensions of sustainable development that includes 26 sub-models in all, and finally is integrated into an index as Net Progress Proceeds (NPP). The estimation methods of these submodels, such as cost of environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources and defensive expenditures are described in detail. Based on the framework and methods, this paper examines the costs and benefits of economic growth in three aspects of economy, ecology and society. The results illustrate that NPR of China's economic growth had been negative for a long time and has just became positive since year 2000 but was quite low. Even the best was only 1.6% in 2002 (the worst was -Â 24.2% in 1982). Based on the comparison between three accounts, we can draw a conclusion that ecological cost is the dominant factor that affects China's NPR. The empirical results show that if no other innovative measures or policies are taken in the future the costs of growth would outweigh its benefits, resulting in un-sustainability. Basically, the long-term economic growth would be unsustainable due to increasing environmental damage and depletion of natural resources. There are a few limitations that we consider need to be improved in our CBA framework and method, nevertheless they have many options that can be explored by policy makers, to make the development path more sustainable.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 65 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 356-366

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:65:y:2008:i:2:p:356-366
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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