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The Role Of Intangible Capital in the Transformation and Growth of the Chinese Economy

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  • Charles R. Hulten
  • Janet X. Hao

Abstract

Investment in a broad array of intangible capital - R&D, organizational capital, worker training, and brand equity - has occurred in many of the most advanced world economies and has been found to be an important source of economic growth. This evidence suggests that intangible capital formation may play an important role in China's reform-driven transformation to a more market-oriented open economy. Though the literature on intangible capital is expanding, there has as yet been no general assessment of its role in China's rapid economic growth. This paper seeks to fill this gap by estimating how much intangible investment has taken place there over the last two decades. The importance of this capital as a driver of China's recent growth is then assessed using a growth accounting framework, and the results compared to similar findings for the U.S., Japan, the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, as well as Japan during its high growth period. The paper also looks beyond the growth accounting framework to the role of saving rates and long-run convergence in shaping longer-term growth prospects. It also focuses on the problem of accurate economic measurement in an economy undergoing rapid transformation.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles R. Hulten & Janet X. Hao, 2012. "The Role Of Intangible Capital in the Transformation and Growth of the Chinese Economy," NBER Working Papers 18405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18405
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    Cited by:

    1. Fardoust, Shahrokh & Dhareshwar, Ashok, 2013. "Some thoughts on making long-term forecasts for the world economy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6705, The World Bank.
    2. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2014. "Do intangible assets explain high U.S. foreign direct investment returns?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 159-171.
    3. Dutz, Mark A. & O'Connell, Stephen D. & Troncoso, Javier L., 2014. "Public and private investments in innovation capabilities : structural transformation in the Chilean wine industry," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6983, The World Bank.
    4. Dutz, Mark A., 2013. "Resource reallocation and innovation : converting enterprise risks into opportunities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6534, The World Bank.
    5. Martin Falk, 2013. "New empirical findings for international investment in intangible assets," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 30, WWWforEurope.
    6. Thomas J. Holmes & Ellen R. McGrattan & Edward C. Prescott, 2015. "Quid Pro Quo: Technology Capital Transfers for Market Access in China," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 1154-1193.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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