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Business Cycles, Consumption and Risk-Sharing: How Different Is China?


  • Chadwick C. Curtis
  • Nelson Mark


Can standard business-cycle methodology be applied to China? In this chapter, we address this question by examining the macroeconomic time series and identifying dimensions in which China differs from economies (such as Canada and the U.S.) that are typically the subject of business-cycle research. We show that naively applying the standard business-cycle tools to China is no more ridiculous than applying it to Canada, although the dimensions along which the model struggles is different. For China, the model cannot account for the low level of consumption (or high saving) as a proportion of income observed in the data. An examination of provincial level consumption data suggests that the absence of channels for intranational consumption risk sharing may be an important reason why the business-cycle model has trouble accounting for Chinese consumption and saving behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Chadwick C. Curtis & Nelson Mark, 2010. "Business Cycles, Consumption and Risk-Sharing: How Different Is China?," NBER Working Papers 16154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16154
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie & Uribe, Martin, 2003. "Closing small open economy models," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 163-185, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liao, Wei & Shi, Kang & Zhang, Zhiwei, 2012. "Vertical trade and China's export dynamics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 763-775.
    2. Te Lai, 2015. "Regional Capital Mobility in China: An Endogenous Parameter Approach," Applied Economics and Finance, Redfame publishing, vol. 2(3), pages 63-75, August.
    3. Joseph DeJuan & Tony S. Wirjanto & Xinpeng Xu, 2016. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Income Changes Across Chinese Provinces," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 17(2), pages 235-253, November.
    4. Ho, Chun-Yu & Ho, Wai-Yip Alex & Li, Dan, 2015. "Intranational risk sharing and its determinants," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 89-113.
    5. Chadwick C. Curtis & Steven Lugauer & Nelson C. Mark, 2015. "Demographic Patterns and Household Saving in China," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 58-94, April.
    6. Jiandong Ju & Kang Shi & Shang-Jin Wei, 2012. "Trade Reforms and Current Account Imbalances: When Does the General Equilibrium Effect Overturn a Partial Equilibrium Intuition?," NBER Working Papers 18653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Guo, Shen & Liu, Lezheng & Zhao, Yan, 2015. "The business cycle implications of land financing in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 225-237.
    8. Chan, Kenneth S. & Lai, Jennifer T. & Yan, Isabel K.M., 2014. "Consumption risk sharing and self-insurance across provinces in China: 1952–2008," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 66-85.
    9. Guangwei Huang, 2015. "From Water-Constrained to Water-Driven Sustainable Development—A Case of Water Policy Impact Evaluation," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-15, July.
    10. Ju, Jiangdong & Shi, Kang & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2013. "Trade reforms and current account imbalances," BOFIT Discussion Papers 25/2013, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
    11. Tara M. Sinclair, 2012. "Characteristics and Implications of Chinese Macroeconomic Data Revisions," Working Papers 2012-09, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    12. Steven Lugauer & Jinlan Ni & Zhichao Yin, 2014. "Micro-Data Evidence on Family Size and Chinese Saving Rates," Working Papers 023, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
    13. Yu Zhang, 2017. "Liquidity Constraints, Transition Dynamics, and the Chinese Housing Return Premium," 2017 Meeting Papers 1217, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Lai, Jennifer T. & McNelis, Paul D. & Yan, Isabel K.M., 2013. "Regional capital mobility in China: Economic reform with limited financial integration," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 493-503.
    15. Yueqing Jia, 2011. "A New Look at China’s Output Fluctuations: Quarterly GDP Estimation with an Unobserved Components Approach," Working Papers 2011-006, The George Washington University, Department of Economics, Research Program on Forecasting.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

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