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China’s Path to Consumer-Based Growth; Reorienting Investment and Enhancing Efficiency

Author

Listed:
  • Il Houng Lee
  • Murtaza H Syed
  • Liu Xueyan

Abstract

This paper proposes a possible framework for identifying excessive investment. Based on this method, it finds evidence that some types of investment are becoming excessive in China, particularly in inland provinces. In these regions, private consumption has on average become more dependent on investment (rather than vice versa) and the impact is relatively short-lived, necessitating ever higher levels of investment to maintain economic activity. By contrast, private consumption has become more self-sustaining in coastal provinces, in large part because investment here tends to benefit household incomes more than corporates. If existing trends continue, valuable resources could be wasted at a time when China’s ability to finance investment is facing increasing constraints due to dwindling land, labor, and government resources and becoming more reliant on liquidity expansion, with attendant risks of financial instability and asset bubbles. Thus, investment should not be indiscriminately directed toward urbanization or industrialization of Western regions but shifted toward sectors with greater and more lasting spillovers to household income and consumption. In this context, investment in agriculture and services is found to be superior to that in manufacturing and real estate. Financial reform would facilitate such a reorientation, helping China to enhance capital efficiency and keep growth buoyant even as aggregate investment is lowered to sustainable levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Il Houng Lee & Murtaza H Syed & Liu Xueyan, 2013. "China’s Path to Consumer-Based Growth; Reorienting Investment and Enhancing Efficiency," IMF Working Papers 13/83, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:13/83
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Qin, Duo & Cagas, Marie Anne & Quising, Pilipinas & He, Xin-Hua, 2006. "How much does investment drive economic growth in China?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(7), pages 751-774, October.
    2. Dumitrescu, Elena-Ivona & Hurlin, Christophe, 2012. "Testing for Granger non-causality in heterogeneous panels," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1450-1460.
    3. Qin, Duo & Song, Haiyan, 2009. "Sources of investment inefficiency: The case of fixed-asset investment in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 94-105, September.
    4. He, Dong & Zhang, Wenlang, 2010. "How dependent is the Chinese economy on exports and in what sense has its growth been export-led?," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 87-104, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Elliott, Robert J.R. & Zhou, Ying, 2015. "Co-location and Spatial Wage Spillovers in China: The Role of Foreign Ownership and Trade," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 629-644.
    2. You, Kefei & Solomon, Offiong Helen, 2015. "China's outward foreign direct investment and domestic investment: An industrial level analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 249-260.
    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. 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.
    5. repec:taf:ceasxx:v:67:y:2015:i:9:p:1351-1370 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Andrea Fracasso, 2015. "Economic Rebalancing and Growth: the Japanese experience and China’s prospects," DEM Discussion Papers 2015/07, Department of Economics and Management.
    7. Marie Luise Funke & Helena Xiang Li & Horst Löchel, 2016. "The High Profitability of Big Chinese State-Owned Banks and China’s Growth Model," Homo Oeconomicus: Journal of Behavioral and Institutional Economics, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 121-134, August.

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