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Dissecting the China Puzzle : Asymmetric Liberalization and Cost Distortion

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  • Huang Yiping

    (China Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

In this paper we attempt to explain the China Puzzle : coexistence of accelerating economic growth and worsening growth outlook. The root cause lies in Chinas unique liberalization approach, i.e., the combination of complete liberalization of product markets and continued distortions in factor markets. Repressed costs of labor, capital, land and resources artificially raise profits of production, increase returns to investment and improve international competitiveness of Chinese products. This is why economic growth is strong, but investment and exports are even stronger. These distortions also contribute to the global imbalances by boosting Chinas current account surpluses and capital outflows in forms of foreign exchange reserves. We estimate factor cost distortions for 20002009 to gauge the likely magnitudes and crossyear patterns. They provide a reasonable explanation of the movement in economic imbalances. These findings have important policy implications. The governments efforts to rebalance the economy after 2003 failed because it did not attack the root cause, i.e, the incentive structure. Popular calls for renminbi appreciation might work ineffectively as currency undervaluation is only part of the distortion. The best policy for achieving sustainable growth would be a comprehensive package focusing on liberalization of the factor markets and elimination of cost distortions.

Suggested Citation

  • Huang Yiping, 2010. "Dissecting the China Puzzle : Asymmetric Liberalization and Cost Distortion," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22874, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:macroe:22874
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    File URL: http://www.eaber.org/node/22874
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo, 2000. "Understanding china's economic performance," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1-50.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Julan Du & Hongsheng Fang & Xiangrong Jin, 2013. "Chinese Political and Economic Governance System and the Imbalance between Consumption and Investment," Working Papers 232013, Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research.
    2. Du, Julan & Fang, Hongsheng & Jin, Xiangrong, 2014. "The “growth-first strategy” and the imbalance between consumption and investment in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 441-458.
    3. Bing Xu & Adrian Van Rixtel & Michiel Van Leuvensteijn, 2013. "Measuring bank competition in China: a comparison of new versus conventional approaches applied to loan markets," BIS Working Papers 422, Bank for International Settlements.
    4. Johansson, Anders C. & Wang, Xun, 2011. "Financial Repression And Structural Imbalances," Working Paper Series 2011-19, Stockholm School of Economics, China Economic Research Center.
    5. repec:eee:enepol:v:118:y:2018:i:c:p:573-583 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bonatti, Luigi & Fracasso, Andrea, 2013. "Regime switches in the Sino-American co-dependency: Growth and structural change in China," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 1-32.
    7. Guillaume Gaulier & Françoise Lemoine & Deniz Ünal, 2011. "China's Foreign Trade in the Perspective of a More Balanced Economic Growth," Working Papers 2011-03, CEPII research center.
    8. Gou, Qin & Yiping, Huang, 2018. "Will Financial Liberalization Trigger the First Crisis in the People’s Republic of China? Lessons from Cross-Country Experiences," ADBI Working Papers 818, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    9. repec:bla:asiapr:v:12:y:2017:i:2:p:188-205 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China puzzle; asymmetric market liberalization; cost distortion; Imbalances;

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F40 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - General

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