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China's Exports and Employment

In: China's Growing Role in World Trade

  • Robert C. Feenstra
  • Chang Hong

Dooley et al (2003, 2004a,b,c) argue that China seeks to raise urban employment by 10-12 million persons per year, with about 30% of that coming from export growth. In fact, total employment increased by 7.5-8 million per year over 1997-2005. We estimate that export growth over 1997-2002 contributed at most 2.5 million jobs per year, with most of the employment gains coming from non-traded goods like construction. Exports grew much faster over the 2000-2005 period, which could in principal explain the entire increase in employment. However, the growth in domestic demand led to three-times more employment gains than did exports over 2000-2005, while productivity growth subtracted the same amount again from employment. We conclude that exports have become increasingly important in stimulating employment in China, but that the same gains could be obtained from growth in domestic demand, especially for tradable goods, which has been stagnant until at least 2002.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Robert C. Feenstra & Shang-Jin Wei, 2010. "China's Growing Role in World Trade," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen07-1.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10457.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10457
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    1. Michael Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2005. "An essay on the revived Bretton Woods system," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Feb.
    2. Chen, Xikang & Cheng, Leonard K. & Fung, K.C. & Lau, Lawrence J. & Sung, Yun-Wing & Zhu, K. & Yang, C. & Pei, J. & Duan, Y., 2012. "Domestic value added and employment generated by Chinese exports: A quantitative estimation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 850-864.
    3. William D. Nordhaus, 2001. "Productivity Growth and the New Economy," NBER Working Papers 8096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter M. Garber, 2004. "The US Current Account Deficit and Economic Development: Collateral for a Total Return Swap," NBER Working Papers 10727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2004. "Direct Investment, Rising Real Wages and the Absorption of Excess Labor in the Periphery," NBER Working Papers 10626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. David Hummels & Jun Ishii & Kei-Mu Yi, 1999. "The nature and growth of vertical specialization in world trade," Staff Reports 72, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Goldin, Claudia, 2004. "The Long Road to the Fast Track: Career and Family," Scholarly Articles 2920116, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    8. Jahangir Aziz, 2006. "Rebalancing China's Economy; What Does Growth Theory Tell Us?," IMF Working Papers 06/291, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2004. "The revived Bretton Woods system," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(4), pages 307-313.
    10. Jeffrey R. Bernstein & David E. Weinstein, 1998. "Do Endowments Predict the Location of Production? Evidence from National and International Data," NBER Working Papers 6815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jahangir Aziz & Li Cui, 2007. "Explaining China's Low Consumption; The Neglected Role of Household Income," IMF Working Papers 07/181, International Monetary Fund.
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