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Factor Market Distortions Across Time, Space and Sectors in China

  • Xiaodong Zhu

    (University of Toronto)

  • Trevor Tombe

    (University of Toronto)

  • Loren Brandt

    (University of Toronto)

In this paper we measure the distortions in the allocation of labor and capital across provinces and sectors in China for the period 1985-2007. Most existing studies have measured factor market distortions by using some index of dispersion in individual factor returns. However, the map between these dispersion measures and the efficiency loss due to distortions is not clear, especially when there is more than one factor. In this paper, we follow Hsieh and Klenow (2009)'s strategy by measuring the factor market distortions as the reduction in aggregate TFP due to distortions. We extend their analysis by decomposing the overall distortions into between-province and within-province inter-sectoral distortions. We find: (1) For the period between 1985 and 2007, the distortions in factor allocation reduced aggregate TFP by about 31% on average, with the within-province distortions accounting for more than half of the reduction; (2) the measure of between-province distortions was relatively constant over the period; (3) the measure of within-province distortions declined between 1985 and 1997, contributing to 0.96% TFP growth per year, but then increased significantly in the last ten years, reducing the aggregate TFP growth rate by 1.41% a year; and (4) almost all of the within-province distortions can be accounted for by the misallocation of capital between the state and the non-state sectors.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 1301.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1301
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  1. Brandt, Loren & Holz, Carsten A, 2006. "Spatial Price Differences in China: Estimates and Implications," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 43-86, October.
  2. Boyreau-Debray, Genevieve & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2004. "Pitfalls of a State-Dominated Financial System: The Case of China," CEPR Discussion Papers 4471, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," Working Papers 09-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  13. Carsten A. Holz, 2009. "No Razor's Edge: Reexamining Alwyn Young's Evidence for Increasing Interprovincial Trade Barriers in China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 599-616, August.
  14. Xu Yi & Nezih Guner & Gustavo Ventura, 2005. "Macroeconomic Implications of Size Dependent Policies," 2005 Meeting Papers 530, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Eric Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2013. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 305-34, February.
  16. Diego Restuccia & Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Policy Distortions and Aggregate Productivity with Heterogeneous Plants," NBER Working Papers 13018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gong Liutang & Xie Danyang, 2006. "Factor Mobility and Dispersion in Marginal Products: A Case on China," Frontiers of Economics in China, Higher Education Press, vol. 1(1), pages 1-13, March.
  18. Laura Alfaro & Andrew Charlton & Fabio Kanczuk, 2008. "Plant-Size Distribution and Cross-Country Income Differences," NBER Working Papers 14060, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  20. Poncet, Sandra, 2003. "Measuring Chinese domestic and international integration," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 1-21.
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