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Why has China grown so fast? The role of international technology transfer


  • Linda Yueh
  • Linda Yueh
  • John Van Reenen


Chinese economic growth has been spectacular in the last 30 years. We investigate the role of International Joint Ventures with Technology Transfer agreements, an understudied area. Technology transfer is the traditional mechanism for developing countries to "catch up" and has been a key component of Chinese economic policy. We collect original survey data on Chinese firms and their joint ventures and match this to administrative data on firm performance. To identify the causal effect of joint ventures we use time-varying and province-specific policies at the time when a firm was born. International joint ventures in general and I have large effects on productivity especially when combined with a technology transfer component. We estimate that without International joint ventures China's growth would have been about one percentage point lower per annum over the last three decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Linda Yueh & Linda Yueh & John Van Reenen, 2012. "Why has China grown so fast? The role of international technology transfer," Economics Series Working Papers 592, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:592

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dougherty, Sean & Herd, Richard & He, Ping, 2007. "Has a private sector emerged in China's industry? Evidence from a quarter of a million Chinese firms," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 309-334.
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    5. Nicholas Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Why Do Management Practices Differ across Firms and Countries?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 203-224, Winter.
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    7. Alfred D. Chandler, 1969. "Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262530090, January.
    8. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Million Dollar Plants," Working Paper series 36_08, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
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    Cited by:

    1. Neil Foster-McGregor & Johannes Pöschl & Ana Rincon-Aznar & Robert Stehrer & Michaela Vecchi & Francesco Venturini, 2014. "Reducing Productivity and Efficiency Gaps: the Role of Knowledge Assets, Absorptive Capacity and Institutions," wiiw Research Reports 396, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    2. 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


    China; Technology transfer; Joint ventures; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • O32 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Management of Technological Innovation and R&D
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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