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China’s Economic Growth 1978-2025: What We Know Today about China’s Economic Growth Tomorrow

  • Carsten A Holz

    (Hong Kong University of Science & Technology)

Views of the future China vary widely. While some believe that the collapse of China is inevitable, others see the emergence of a new superpower that increasingly poses a threat to the U.S. This paper examines the economic growth prospects of China over the next two decades. Extrapolating past real GDP growth rates into the future, the size of the Chinese economy surpasses that of the U.S. in purchasing power terms between 2012 and 2015; by 2025, China is likely to be the world's largest economic power by almost any measure. The extrapolations are supported by two types of considerations. First, China’s growth patterns of the past 25 years since the beginning of economic reforms match well those identified by standard economic development and trade theories (structural change, catching up, and factor price equalization). Second, decomposing China’s GDP growth into growth of labor and other variables, the near-certain information available today about the quantity and quality of Chinese laborers through 2015, if not several years after, allows inferences about future GDP growth. Short of some cataclysmic event, demographics alone suggests China’s continued economic rise. If talent is randomly distributed in the world population and if agglomeration of talent is important, then the odds are strongly in China’s favor.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0512002.

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Date of creation: 02 Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0512002
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  1. Chow, Gregory C & Li, Kui-Wai, 2002. "China's Economic Growth: 1952-2010," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 247-56, October.
  2. Miklos Koren & Silvana Tenreyro, 2005. "Volatility and development," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 5312, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Robert J. Barro, 2012. "Inflation and Economic Growth," CEMA Working Papers 568, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  4. Abramovitz, Moses, 1986. "Catching Up, Forging Ahead, and Falling Behind," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 46(02), pages 385-406, June.
  5. Heckman, James J., 2005. "China's human capital investment," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 50-70.
  6. Wang, Yan & Yao, Yudong, 2003. "Sources of China's economic growth 1952-1999: incorporating human capital accumulation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 32-52.
  7. Carsten A. Holz, 2006. "CHINA's REFORM PERIOD ECONOMIC GROWTH: HOW RELIABLE ARE ANGUS MADDISON's ESTIMATES?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(1), pages 85-119, 03.
  8. Paul A. Samuelson, 2004. "Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Mainstream Economists Supporting Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 135-146, Summer.
  9. Angus Maddison, 2006. "DO OFFICIAL STATISTICS EXAGGERATE CHINA's GDP GROWTH? A REPLY TO CARSTEN HOLZ," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(1), pages 121-126, 03.
  10. Yingyi Qian, 2000. "The Process of China's Market Transition (1978-1998): The Evolutionary, Historical, and Comparative Perspectives," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 156(1), pages 151-, March.
  11. Harberger, Arnold C, 1998. "A Vision of the Growth Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 1-32, March.
  12. Alwyn Young, 2003. "Gold into Base Metals: Productivity Growth in the People's Republic of China during the Reform Period," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1220-1261, December.
  13. Woo Wing Thye, 1994. "The Art of Reforming Centrally Planned Economies: Comparing China, Poland, and Russia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 276-308, June.
  14. Carsten A. Holz, 2006. "China'S Reform Period Economic Growth: How Reliable Are Angus Maddison'S Estimates? Response To Angus Maddison'S Reply," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(3), pages 471-475, 09.
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