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China: An Institutional View of an Unusual Macroeconomy

Listed author(s):
  • David Dollar
  • Benjamin F. Jones

China presents several macroeconomic patterns that appear inconsistent with standard stylized facts about economic development and hence inconsistent with the standard neoclassical growth model. We show that Chinese macroeconomic patterns instead appear consistent with an environment where state control of factor markets can promote aggressive output goals. We consider the micro-institutional features that can sustain this behavior, emphasizing the hukou system and state control over capital allocation, and present a simple model built on these features. The model can explain several puzzling facts about the Chinese economy, including its unusually low labor share and unusually high saving and investment rates. Interestingly, the model also shows that free-market reforms can initially take the economy further from global macroeconomic norms.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19662.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19662.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19662
Note: DEV EFG POL PR
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  1. John Knight & Lina Song & Jia Huaibin, 1999. "Chinese rural migrants in urban enterprises: Three perspectives," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(3), pages 73-104.
  2. Jiang, Shiqing & Lu, Ming & Sato, Hiroshi, 2012. "Identity, Inequality, and Happiness: Evidence from Urban China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1190-1200.
  3. Douglas Gollin, 2002. "Getting Income Shares Right," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 458-474, April.
  4. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511-564.
  5. Chenggang Xu, 2011. "The Fundamental Institutions of China's Reforms and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1076-1151, December.
  6. 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.
  7. Y. Xu, 2000. "Forecasting Labor Supply in Urban China: Integrating Demographic Dynamics and Socioeconomic Transition," Working Papers ir00011, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
  8. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877.
  9. Nicholas R. Lardy, 2012. "Sustaining China's Economic Growth after the Global Financial Crisis," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6260, 03.
  10. Lu, Zhigang & Song, Shunfeng, 2006. "Rural-urban migration and wage determination: The case of Tianjin, China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 337-345.
  11. Park, Albert & Wang, Dewen, 2010. "Migration and Urban Poverty and Inequality in China," IZA Discussion Papers 4877, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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