IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wai/econwp/15-14.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Erroneous Use of China's Population and per capita Data:A Structured Review and Critical Test

Author

Listed:

Abstract

Hundreds of studies in economics misinterpret China’s sub-national population and per capita data. The most widely used population counts are of hukou registrations from each province, prefecture, county, or city rather than of the people living in each place and generating local GDP. Over 220 million people have left their place of registration, while almost none had when reforms began, creating time-varying errors in estimates of per capita income of sub-national units. We survey empirical articles in blue ribbon journals, in development journals, and in regional and urban economics journals that use China’s sub-national data. Over 80 percent of articles use these data erroneously; most commonly the wrong population or employment counts are used to measure the size of sub-national units, and per capita data are calculated with the wrong denominator for the interpretation placed on variables. We provide examples of errors from each group of journals, and a critical test of one highly-cited study. Specifically, we show that if hukou registrations are erroneously used to measure the local population, following existing practice, conclusions about driving forces for urban area expansion are reversed. We give recommendations for more careful use of China’s sub-national population and per capita data.

Suggested Citation

  • John Gibson & Chao Li, 2015. "The Erroneous Use of China's Population and per capita Data:A Structured Review and Critical Test," Working Papers in Economics 15/14, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:15/14
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: ftp://wms-webprod1.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/RePEc/wai/econwp/1514.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. World Bank & the People’s Republic of China Development Research Center of the State Council, 2014. "Urban China : Toward Efficient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Urbanization," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 18865, July.
    2. M. H. Pesaran, 1974. "On the General Problem of Model Selection," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(2), pages 153-171.
    3. Au, Chun-Chung & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2006. "How migration restrictions limit agglomeration and productivity in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 350-388, August.
    4. Deng, Xiangzheng & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott & Uchida, Emi, 2008. "Growth, population and industrialization, and urban land expansion of China," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 96-115, January.
    5. Li, Chao & Gibson, John, 2015. "City scale and productivity in China," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 86-90.
    6. Iris Claus & Les Oxley & Ming Lu & Guanghua Wan, 2014. "Urbanization And Urban Systems In The People'S Republic Of China: Research Findings And Policy Recommendations," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 671-685, September.
    7. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2014. "Lights, Camera,... Income!: Estimating Poverty Using National Accounts, Survey Means, and Lights," NBER Working Papers 19831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Li, Chao & Gibson, John, 2013. "Rising Regional Inequality in China: Fact or Artifact?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 16-29.
    9. Poncet, Sandra & Starosta de Waldemar, Felipe, 2013. "Export Upgrading and Growth: The Prerequisite of Domestic Embeddedness," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 104-118.
    10. Iris Claus & Les Oxley & Chen Wang & Guanghua Wan & Dan Yang, 2014. "Income Inequality In The People'S Republic Of China: Trends, Determinants, And Proposed Remedies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(4), pages 686-708, September.
    11. Sandra Poncet & Felipe Starosta, 2013. "Export upgrading and growth in China: the prerequisite of domestic embeddedness," PSE - G-MOND WORKING PAPERS halshs-00960684, HAL.
    12. Roberts, Mark & Deichmann, Uwe & Fingleton, Bernard & Shi, Tuo, 2012. "Evaluating China's road to prosperity: A new economic geography approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 580-594.
    13. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00960684 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Holz, Carsten A., 2004. "Deconstructing China's GDP statistics," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 164-202.
    15. Wei, Zheng & Hao, Rui, 2010. "Demographic structure and economic growth: Evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 472-491, December.
    16. Chun-Chung Au & J. Vernon Henderson, 2006. "Are Chinese Cities Too Small?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(3), pages 549-576.
    17. Gregory Chow, 2006. "Are Chinese Official Statistics Reliable?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(2), pages 396-414, June.
    18. Holz, Carsten A, 2013. "Chinese statistics: classification systems and data sources," MPRA Paper 43869, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Scharping, Thomas, 2001. "Hide-and-seek: China's elusive population data," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 323-332.
    20. John Gibson & Chao Li & Geua Boe-Gibson, 2014. "Economic Growth and Expansion of China’s Urban Land Area: Evidence from Administrative Data and Night Lights, 1993–2012," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(11), pages 1-16, November.
    21. Benjamin Faber, 2014. "Trade Integration, Market Size, and Industrialization: Evidence from China's National Trunk Highway System," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(3), pages 1046-1070.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Chinese data
      by Eric Crampton in Offsetting Behaviour on 2015-12-18 08:45:00
    2. Economic Growth and Particulate Pollution Concentrations in China
      by noreply@blogger.com (David Stern) in Stochastic Trend on 2016-02-25 12:00:00

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Kanbur, Ravi & Wang, Yue & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2017. "The Great Chinese Inequality Turnaround," IZA Discussion Papers 10635, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. David I. Stern & Donglan Zha, 2016. "Economic growth and particulate pollution concentrations in China," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 18(3), pages 327-338, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hukou; China; measurement error; population; sub-national growth; urban area;

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:15/14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Brian Silverstone). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/dewaknz.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.