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Grasp the Large, Let Go of the Small: The Transformation of the State Sector in China

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  • Chang-Tai Hsieh
  • Zheng (Michael) Song

Abstract

Starting in the late 1990s, China undertook a dramatic transformation of the large number of firms under state control. Small state-owned firms were privatized or closed. Large state-owned firms were corporatized and merged into large industrial groups under the control of the Chinese state. The state also created many new and large firms. We use detailed firm-level data to show that from 1998 to 2007, (i) state-owned firms that were closed were smaller and had low labor and capital productivity; (ii) the labor productivity of state-owned firms converged to that of private firms; (iii) the capital productivity of state-owned firms remained significantly lower than that of private firms; and (iv) total factor productivity (TFP) growth of state-owned firms was faster than that of private firms. We find the reforms of the state sector were responsible for 20 percent of aggregate TFP growth from 1998 to 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Chang-Tai Hsieh & Zheng (Michael) Song, 2015. "Grasp the Large, Let Go of the Small: The Transformation of the State Sector in China," NBER Working Papers 21006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21006
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    1. Loren Brandt & Trevor Tombe & Xiadong Zhu, 2013. "Factor Market Distortions Across Time, Space, and Sectors in China," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 39-58, January.
    2. Jan De Loecker & Frederic Warzynski, 2012. "Markups and Firm-Level Export Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2437-2471, October.
    3. Yong Wang & Xuewen Liu & Xi Li, 2013. "A Model of China's State Capitalism," 2013 Meeting Papers 853, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Simon Gilchrist & Jae W. Sim & Egon Zakrajsek, 2013. "Misallocation and Financial Market Frictions: Some Direct Evidence from the Dispersion in Borrowing Costs," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(1), pages 159-176, January.
    5. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    6. Fariha Kamal & Mary E. Lovely, 2017. "Labor Allocation in China: Implicit Taxation of the Heterogeneous Non-State Sector," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Economic Integration and Domestic Performance, chapter 13, pages 227-254 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    7. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(4), pages 707-720, October.
    8. Nicholas R. Lardy, 2014. "Markets over Mao: The Rise of Private Business in China," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6932.
    9. repec:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:4:p:735-747 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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