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Labor Productivity Differences in China 1987-1997: An Interregional Decomposition Analysis


  • Yang, Ling

    (Xi'an Jiaotong U)

  • Lahr, Michael L.

    (Rutgers U)


The literature on regional disparities in China is both broad and deep. Nonetheless, much of its focus has been on the effects of trade liberalization and national policies toward investment in interior provinces. Few pieces have examined whether the disparities might simply be due to differences in industry mix, final demand, or even interregional trade. Using two newly published multiregional input-output tables and disaggregated employment data, we decompose change in labor productivity growth for seven regions of China between 1987 and 1997 into five partial effects--changes in value added coefficients, direct labor requirements, aggregate production mix, interregional trade, and final demand. Subsequently we summarize the contributions to labor productivity of the different factors at the regional level. In this way, we present a new perspective on recent causes of China's interregional disparity in GDP per capita.

Suggested Citation

  • Yang, Ling & Lahr, Michael L., 2008. "Labor Productivity Differences in China 1987-1997: An Interregional Decomposition Analysis," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 38(3), pages 319-341.
  • Handle: RePEc:rre:publsh:v:38:y:2008:i:3:p:319-41

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wei, Shang-Jin & Wu, Yi, 2001. "Globalization and Inequality: Evidence from within China," CEPR Discussion Papers 3088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Liu, Tung & Li, Kui-Wai, 2006. "Disparity in factor contributions between coastal and inner provinces in post-reform China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 449-470.
    3. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2002. "What has caused regional inequality in China?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 331-334, December.
    4. Erik Dietzenbacher & Alex R. Hoen & Bart Los, 2000. "Labor Productivity in Western Europe 1975-1985: An Intercountry, Interindustry Analysis," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 425-452.
    5. Cai, Fang & Wang, Dewen & Du, Yang, 2002. "Regional disparity and economic growth in China: The impact of labor market distortions," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 197-212.
    6. Demurger, Sylvie & Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Woo, Wing Thye & BAO, Shuming & Chang, Gene, 2002. "The relative contributions of location and preferential policies in China's regional development: being in the right place and having the right incentives," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 444-465, December.
    7. Meng, Bo & Chao, Qu, 2007. "Application of the Input-Output Decomposition Technique to China's Regional Economies," IDE Discussion Papers 102, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    8. Tybout, James R, 1992. "Linking Trade and Productivity: New Research Directions," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 6(2), pages 189-211, May.
    9. Haishun Sun & Ashok Parikh, 2001. "Exports, Inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Regional Economic Growth in China," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 187-196.
    10. Dietzenbacher, Erik & Hoen, Alex R, 1998. "Deflation of Input-Output Tables from the User's Point of View: A Heuristic Approach," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(1), pages 111-122, March.
    11. Shuntaro Shishido & Makoto Nobukuni & Kazumi Kawamura & Takahiro Akita & Shunichi Furukawa, 2000. "An International Comparison of Leontief Input-Output Coefficients and its Application to Structural Growth Patterns," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 45-64.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yang, Ling & Lahr, Michael L., 2010. "Sources of Chinese labor productivity growth: A structural decomposition analysis, 1987-2005," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 557-570, December.
    2. Strohmaier, R. & Rainer, A., 2016. "Studying general purpose technologies in a multi-sector framework: The case of ICT in Denmark," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 34-49.
    3. Strohmaier, Rita & Rainer, Andreas, 2013. "On the Eonomic Purpose of General Purpose Technologies: A Combined Classical and Evolutionary Framework," MPRA Paper 45964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Almas Heshmati & Biwei Su, 2013. "Development and Sources of Labor Productivity in Chinese Provinces," China Economic Policy Review (CEPR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(02), pages 1-30.
    5. Eduardo Haddad & Michael Lahr & Dina Elshahawany & Moisés Vassallo, 2015. "Regional Analysis of Domestic Integration in Egypt," ERSA conference papers ersa15p159, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Zhang, Haiyan & Lahr, Michael L., 2014. "China's energy consumption change from 1987 to 2007: A multi-regional structural decomposition analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 682-693.
    7. Xuemei Jiang & Erik Dietzenbacher & Bart Los, 2014. "A dissection of the growth of regional disparities in Chinese labor productivity between 1997 and 2002," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 52(2), pages 513-536, March.

    More about this item


    Employment Data; Input Output; Interregional trade; Labor Productivity; Productivity; Regional; Regions;

    JEL classification:

    • C67 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Input-Output Models
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • P25 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods


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