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Is China Over-Investing and Does it Matter?

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  • Il Houng Lee
  • Murtaza H Syed
  • Liu Xueyan

Abstract

Now close to 50 percent of GDP, this paper assesses the appropriateness of China’s current investment levels. It finds that China’s capital-to-output ratio is within the range of other emerging markets, but its economic growth rates stand out, partly due to a surge in investment over the last decade. Moreover, its investment is significantly higher than suggested by cross-country panel estimation. This deviation has been accumulating over the last decade, and at nearly 10 percent of GDP is now larger and more persistent than experienced by other Asian economies leading up to the Asian crisis. However, because its investment is predominantly financed by domestic savings, a crisis appears unlikely when assessed against dependency on external funding. But this does not mean that the cost is absent. Rather, it is distributed to other sectors of the economy through a hidden transfer of resources, estimated at an average of 4 percent of GDP per year.

Suggested Citation

  • Il Houng Lee & Murtaza H Syed & Liu Xueyan, 2012. "Is China Over-Investing and Does it Matter?," IMF Working Papers 12/277, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/277
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sai Ding & Alessandra Guariglia & John Knight, "undated". "Does China overinvest? Evidence from a panel of Chinese firms," Discussion Papers 12/04, University of Nottingham, GEP.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tang, Ya & Xu, Jianguo & Zhang, Xun, 2017. "China's investment and rate of return on capital revisited," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 12-25.
    2. Arestis, Philip & Gonzalez-Martinez, Ana Rosa, 2016. "Revisiting the accelerator principle in a world of uncertainty: Some empirical evidence," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 35-42.
    3. Gauvin, Ludovic & Rebillard, Cyril, 2013. "Towards Recoupling? Assessing the Impact of a Chinese Hard Landing on Commodity Exporters: Results from Conditional Forecast in a GVAR Model," MPRA Paper 65457, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Ndambendia, Houdou, 2015. "Africa trade and investment with BRIC nations in a changing economic landscape: the role of China," MPRA Paper 71675, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Chen, Yu-Fu & Funke, Michael & Tao, Kunyu, 2015. "Financial market reform – A new driver for China’s economic growth?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 5/2015, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    6. M. Albert & C. Jude & C. Rebillard, 2015. "The Long Landing Scenario: Rebalancing from Overinvestment and Excessive Credit Growth. Implications for Potential Growth in China," Working papers 572, Banque de France.
    7. Shen, Jianfu & Firth, Michael & Poon, Winnie P.H., 2016. "Credit Expansion, Corporate Finance and Overinvestment: Recent Evidence from China," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 16-27.
    8. Omar Neme Castillo & Ana Lilia Valderrama Santibáñez & Humberto Ríos Bolívar, 2013. "Comercio internacional, IED, capital humano e ingreso per cápita en América Latina y el Caribe," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 101-139, May.
    9. Andrea Fracasso, 2015. "Economic Rebalancing and Growth: the Japanese experience and China’s prospects," DEM Discussion Papers 2015/07, Department of Economics and Management.
    10. Mylène Gaulard, 2014. "La burbuja inmobiliaria en China," Post-Print halshs-01086912, HAL.
    11. Aktoty Aitzhanova & Shigeo Katsu & Johannes F. Linn & Vladislav Yezhov (ed.), 2014. "Kazakhstan 2050: Toward a Modern Society for All," Books, Emerging Markets Forum, edition 1, number kazakh2050, July-Dece.
    12. Mylène Gaulard, 2014. "Les dangers de la bulle immobilière chinoise," Revue Tiers-Monde, Armand Colin, pages 77-96.
    13. Jeannine Bailliu & Mark Kruger & Argyn Toktamyssov & Wheaton Welbourn, 2016. "How Fast Can China Grow? The Middle Kingdom’s Prospects to 2030," Staff Working Papers 16-15, Bank of Canada.
    14. Crafts, Nicholas & O’Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Twentieth Century Growth*This research has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) / ERC grant agreement no. 249546.," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 6, pages 263-346 Elsevier.
    15. EZZAHID, Elhadj & NIHOU, Abdelaziz, 2017. "Capital deepening and efficiency in Morocco," MPRA Paper 82143, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Lee, Hyun-Hoon & Park, Donghyun & Shin, Kwanho, 2016. "Effects of the People’s Republic of China’s Structural Change on the Exports of East and Southeast Asian Economies," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 492, Asian Development Bank.

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