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Human Capital, Economic Growth, and Inequality in China

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  • James J. Heckman
  • Junjian Yi

Abstract

China's rapid growth was fueled by substantial physical capital investments applied to a large stock of medium skilled labor acquired before economic reforms began. As development proceeded, the demand for high skilled labor has grown, and, in the past decade, China has made substantial investments in producing it. The egalitarian access to medium skilled education characteristic of the pre-reform era has given rise to substantial inequality in access to higher levels of education. China's growth will be fostered by expanding access to all levels of education, reducing impediments to labor mobility, and expanding the private sector.

Suggested Citation

  • James J. Heckman & Junjian Yi, 2012. "Human Capital, Economic Growth, and Inequality in China," NBER Working Papers 18100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18100
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Constant, Amelie & Meng, Jingzhou & Tien, Bienvenue & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2011. "China's Latent Human Capital Investment: Achieving Milestones and Competing for the Top," CEPR Discussion Papers 8376, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    5. Le Wang, 2013. "How Does Education Affect the Earnings Distribution in Urban China?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(3), pages 435-454, June.
    6. Fleisher, Belton M. & Wang, Xiaojun, 2004. "Skill differentials, return to schooling, and market segmentation in a transition economy: the case of Mainland China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 315-328, February.
    7. Wang, Xiaojun & Fleisher, Belton M. & Li, Haizheng & Li, Shi, 2007. "Access to Higher Education and Inequality: The Chinese Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 2823, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Meng, Xin & Zhang, Junsen, 2001. "The Two-Tier Labor Market in Urban China: Occupational Segregation and Wage Differentials between Urban Residents and Rural Migrants in Shanghai," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 485-504, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hongyan Liu & Chengfang Liu & Fang Chang & Prashant Loyalka, 2016. "Implementation of Teacher Training in China and Its Policy Implications," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 24(3), pages 86-104, May.
    2. Wang Ning, 2015. "The Chinese Economic System Under Mao," Man and the Economy, De Gruyter, vol. 2(2), pages 153-193, December.
    3. Molero-Simarro, Ricardo, 2017. "Inequality in China revisited. The effect of functional distribution of income on urban top incomes, the urban-rural gap and the Gini index, 1978–2015," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 101-117.
    4. Chi, Wei & Qian, Xiaoye, 2016. "Human capital investment in children: An empirical study of household child education expenditure in China, 2007 and 2011," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 52-65.
    5. Yi, Hongmei & Song, Yingquan & Liu, Chengfang & Huang, Xiaoting & Zhang, Linxiu & Bai, Yunli & Ren, Baoping & Shi, Yaojiang & Loyalka, Prashant & Chu, James & Rozelle, Scott, 2015. "Giving kids a head start: The impact and mechanisms of early commitment of financial aid on poor students in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-15.
    6. Sylvia Schwaag Serger & Mats Benner & Li Liu, 2015. "Chinese university governance: Tensions and reforms," Science and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(6), pages 871-886.
    7. Bai, Yunli & Zhang, Linxiu & Yi, Hongmei & Zheng, Liming & Rozelle, Scott, 2017. "The Impact of an Academic High School Tuition Relief Program on Students’ Matriculation into High Schools in Rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 16-28.
    8. Wang, Huan & Yang, Chu & He, Fei & Shi, Yaojiang & Qu, Qinghe & Rozelle, Scott & Chu, James, 2015. "Mental health and dropout behavior: A cross-sectional study of junior high students in northwest rural China," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1-12.
    9. Marinko Škare & Sabina Lacmanovic, 2015. "Human capital and economic growth: a review essay," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 17(39), pages 735-735, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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