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The Chinese GDP Growth Rate Puzzle: How Fast Has the Chinese Economy Grown?


  • Harry X. Wu

    (School of Accounting and Finance, Faculty of Business, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hung Hom, Hong Kong, SAR, China)


The Chinese statistical authorities recently revised the Chinese GDP level and real growth rate for the period 1993-2004 following China's first national economic census for 2004. However, the methodology used in their revision is opaque. Using a trend- deviation interpolation approach, this study has managed to replicate the basic procedures of the revision and reproduced the official estimates. Through this exercise, we have found that the estimates that could be obtained by the straightforward interpolation procedures were significantly modified. Based on a political economy argument, we attempt to explain why the revision had to leave the growth rate of 1998 intact and why it had to bypass the price issue and directly work on the real growth rate revision. Based on previous studies and other observations, we also question the census results on non-service industries. (c) 2007 The Earth Institute at Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Harry X. Wu, 2007. "The Chinese GDP Growth Rate Puzzle: How Fast Has the Chinese Economy Grown?," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-23, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:6:y:2007:i:1:p:1-23

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Yen-Hsiao & Quan, Lianfeng & Liu, Yang, 2013. "An empirical investigation on the temporal properties of China's GDP," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 69-81.
    2. Zhang, Chunni & Xu, Qi & Zhou, Xiang & Zhang, Xiaobo & Xie, Yu, 2014. "Are poverty rates underestimated in China? New evidence from four recent surveys," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 410-425.
    3. Li, Chao & Gibson, John, 2013. "Rising Regional Inequality in China: Fact or Artifact?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 16-29.
    4. Wu, Harry X., 2011. "The Real Growth of Chinese Industry Debate Revisited--Reconstructing China's Industrial GDP in 1949-2008--," Economic Review, Hitotsubashi University, vol. 62(3), pages 209-224, July.
    5. Li, Kui-Wai & Liu, Tung, 2011. "Economic and productivity growth decomposition: An application to post-reform China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 366-373, January.
    6. Holz, Carsten A., 2014. "The quality of China's GDP statistics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 309-338.
    7. Jeffrey Zax, 2014. "Housing allocations, imputed rents and inequality in urban China," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1682, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Zhang, Chunni & Xu, Qi & Zhang, Xiaobo & Xie, Yu, 2013. "An evaluation of poverty prevalence in China: New evidence from four recent surveys:," IFPRI discussion papers 1293, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Hao, Yu & Zhang, Zong-Yong & Liao, Hua & Wei, Yi-Ming, 2015. "China’s farewell to coal: A forecast of coal consumption through 2020," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 444-455.
    10. Tara M. Sinclair, 2012. "Characteristics and Implications of Chinese Macroeconomic Data Revisions," Working Papers 2012-09, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    11. repec:wsi:ceprxx:v:01:y:2012:i:01:n:s1793969012500033 is not listed on IDEAS

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