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Determinants of China’s Private Consumption; An International Perspective


  • Kai Guo
  • Papa M N'Diaye


This paper gauges the key determinants of China's private consumption in relation to GDP using data on the Chinese economy and evidence from other countries' experiences. The results suggest there is nothing "special" about consumption in China. Rather, the challenge is to explain why the conditioning variables-notably a low level of service sector employment, the level of financial sector development, and low real interest rates-are so different in China relative to other countries' historical experience. The results suggest, in particular, that efforts to further raise household income and the share of employment in the services sector, as well as to develop capital markets, including liberalizing interest rates and creating alternative savings instruments are likely to have the biggest impact on consumption. Other mechanisms to raise household income and mitigate household-specific risk (such as by improving the healthcare and pension systems) also have a role to play.

Suggested Citation

  • Kai Guo & Papa M N'Diaye, 2010. "Determinants of China’s Private Consumption; An International Perspective," IMF Working Papers 10/93, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/93

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Franco Modigliani & Shi Larry Cao, 2004. "The Chinese Saving Puzzle and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 145-170, March.
    2. Marcos D. Chamon & Eswar S. Prasad, 2010. "Why Are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 93-130, January.
    3. Barro, Robert J, 1981. "Output Effects of Government Purchases," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1086-1121, December.
    4. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511-564.
    5. Tarhan Feyzioglu, 2009. "Does Good Financial Performance Mean Good Financial Intermediation in China?," IMF Working Papers 09/170, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Andrew Dean & Martine Durand & John Fallon & Peter Hoeller, 1989. "Saving Trends and Behaviour in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 67, OECD Publishing.
    7. Steven V Dunaway & Vivek B. Arora, 2007. "Pension Reform in China; The Need for a New Approach," IMF Working Papers 07/109, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Masson, Paul R & Bayoumi, Tamim & Samiei, Hossein, 1998. "International Evidence on the Determinants of Private Saving," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 12(3), pages 483-501, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xia, Qingjie & Li, Shi & Song, Lina, 2017. "Urban Consumption Inequality in China, 1995–2013," IZA Discussion Papers 11150, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Qingjie Xia & Shi Li & Lina Song, 2017. "Urban Consumption Inequality in China, 1995–2013," Working Papers id:12239, eSocialSciences.
    3. 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.
    4. Gu, Xinhua & Tam, Pui Sun, 2013. "The saving–growth–inequality triangle in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 850-857.


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