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Assessing the Role of Foreign Direct Investment in China’s Economic Development: Macro Indicators and Insights from Sectoral-Regional Analyses

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  • Dic Lo

    () (Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK)

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to assess the role of FDI in China’s economic development with reference to the broader literature on FDI and late development. Three main findings come out from the analyses in the paper. First, it is found that FDI tends to promote the improvement in allocative efficiency, while having a negative impact on productive efficiency. Second, insofar as FDI does promote overall productivity growth, this tends to be a matter of cumulative causation rather than one of single-direction causation. Third, in the context of a comparative analysis of two distinctive regional models, it is found that the economic impact of FDI tends to be more favourable in the inward-looking, capital-deepening pattern of development (the ‘Shanghai model’) than that in the export-oriented, labour-intensive pattern (the ‘Guangdong model’). Further analyses, however, suggest that the ‘Shanghai model’ has its intrinsic problems of sustainability. The scope for applying it to China as a whole is thus judged to be limited.

Suggested Citation

  • Dic Lo, 2004. "Assessing the Role of Foreign Direct Investment in China’s Economic Development: Macro Indicators and Insights from Sectoral-Regional Analyses," Working Papers 135, Department of Economics, SOAS, University of London, UK.
  • Handle: RePEc:soa:wpaper:135
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Berthelemy, Jean-Claude & Demurger, Sylvie, 2000. "Foreign Direct Investment and Economic Growth: Theory and Application to China," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 140-155, June.
    2. Chunlai Chen, 2011. "Foreign Direct Investment in China," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14100.
    3. Dic Lo & Thomas M. H. Chan, 1998. "Machinery and China's nexus of foreign trade and economic growth," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(6), pages 733-749.
    4. Q. Zhang & B. Felmingham, 2002. "The Role of FDI, Exports and Spillover Effects in the Regional Development of China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(4), pages 157-178.
    5. Yingqi Wei & Xiaming Liu & Haiyan Song & Peter Romilly, 2001. "Endogenous innovation growth theory and regional income convergence in China," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(2), pages 153-168.
    6. Mody, Ashoka & Wang, Fang-Yi, 1997. "Explaining Industrial Growth in Coastal China: Economic Reforms . . . and What Else?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 293-325, May.
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