IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Growing like China

  • Song, Zheng Michael
  • Storesletten, Kjetil
  • Zilibotti, Fabrizio

This paper constructs a growth model that is consistent with salient features of the Chinese growth experience since 1992: high output growth, sustained returns on capital investments, extensive reallocation within the manufacturing sector, falling labor share and accumulation of a large foreign surplus. The theory makes only minimal deviations from a neoclassical growth model. Its building blocks are financial imperfections and reallocation among firms with heterogeneous productivity. Some firms use more productive technologies than others, but low-productivity firms survive because of better access to credit markets. Due to the financial imperfections, high-productivity firms - which are run by entrepreneurs - must be financed out of internal savings. If these savings are sufficiently large, the high-productivity sector outgrows the low-productivity sector, and attracts an increasing employment share. During the transition, low wage growth sustains the return to capital. The downsizing of the financially integrated sector forces a growing share of domestic savings to be invested in foreign assets, generating a foreign surplus. We test some auxiliary implications of the theory and find robust empirical support.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7149.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7149
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Gourinchas, Pierre-Olivier & Jeanne, Olivier, 2007. "Capital Flows to Developing Countries: The Allocation Puzzle," CEPR Discussion Papers 6561, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Nazrul Islam & Erbiao Dai & Hiroshi Sakamoto, 2006. "Role of TFP in China's Growth ," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 127-159, 06.
  3. Yan Wang & Yudong Yao, 2001. "Sources of China's economic growth, 1952-99 : incorporating human capital accumulation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2650, The World Bank.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2002. "Distance to Frontier, Selection, and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3467, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Ricardo J Caballero & Emmanuel Farhi & Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, 2006. "An equilibrum model of "global imbalances" and low interest rates," BIS Working Papers 222, Bank for International Settlements.
  6. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:4:p:1403-1448 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Liu, Deqiang & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2004. "A Comparison of Management Incentives, Abilities, and Efficiency between SOEs and TVEs: The Case of the Iron and Steel Industry in China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 759-80, July.
  8. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J Klenow, 2008. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," 2008 Meeting Papers 121, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Alwyn Young, 2003. "Gold into Base Metals: Productivity Growth in the People's Republic of China during the Reform Period," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1220-1261, December.
  10. Stephen L. Parente & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 2000. "Homework in Development Economics: Household Production and the Wealth of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 680-687, August.
  11. Dekle, Robert & Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2012. "A quantitative analysis of China's structural transformation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 119-135.
  12. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2005. "Credit Market Imperfections and Patterns of International Trade and Capital Flows," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 714-723, 04/05.
  13. Banerjee, Abhijit V. & Duflo, Esther, 2005. "Growth Theory through the Lens of Development Economics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 473-552 Elsevier.
  14. Marco Cagetti & Mariacristina De Nardi, 2005. "Entrepreneurship, frictions, and wealth," Working Paper Series WP-05-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  15. David Dollar & Shang-Jin Wei, 2007. "Das (Wasted) Kapital: Firm Ownership and Investment Efficiency in China," IMF Working Papers 07/9, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Quadrini, Vincenzo, 1999. "The Importance of Entrepreneurship for Wealth Concentration and Mobility," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 1-19, March.
  17. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:1:p:57-84 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:4:p:1759-1799 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Michael P. Dooley & David Folkerts-Landau & Peter Garber, 2007. "Direct Investment, Rising Real Wages and the Absorption of Excess Labor in the Periphery," NBER Chapters, in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 103-132 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & John Giles & Sangui Wang, 2005. "Income Inequality During China's Economic Transition," Working Papers tecipa-238, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  21. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2004. "Financial Market Globalization, Symmetry-Breaking, and Endogenous Inequality of Nations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 853-884, 05.
  22. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2007. "Financial Integration, Financial Deepness and Global Imbalances," NBER Working Papers 12909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. 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.
  24. Richard Rogerson & Diego Restuccia, 2004. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," 2004 Meeting Papers 69, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  25. Chong-En Bai & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Yingyi Qian, 2006. "The Return to Capital in China," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(2), pages 61-102.
  26. Aart Kraay, 2000. "Household Saving in China," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(3), pages 545-570, September.
  27. Movshuk, Oleksandr, 2004. "Restructuring, productivity and technical efficiency in China's iron and steel industry, 1988-2000," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 135-151, February.
  28. Dr James Laurenceson, 2002. "The Impact of Stock Markets on China's Economic Development: Some Preliminary Assessments," Discussion Papers Series 302, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  29. Chang, Eric C. & Wong, Sonia M.L., 2004. "Political control and performance in China's listed firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 617-636, December.
  30. repec:oup:restud:v:59:y:1992:i:2:p:375-88 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Growing Like China (AER 2011) in ReplicationWiki

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7149. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask to update the entry or send us the correct address

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.