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Understanding Chinese consumption: The impact of hukou

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  • Dreger, Christian
  • Wang, Tongsan
  • Zhang, Yanqun

Abstract

The Chinese growth miracle was based on exports and investment in recent years. While strong output growth has been maintained even during the financial crisis, the imbalances within the country increased. To return to a more sustainable path of development, policies are directed to improve the role of private consumption. However, the institutional framework is an impediment to the transformation, as it weakens the incentives of households to consume. Besides a low degree of social security and highly regulated financial markets, we stress the relevance of the hukou system as the main driver for modest consumption, especially in recent years. After controlling for different income levels, the average propensity to consume is significantly lower for migrants, as their access to public services is limited. The downward pressure on consumption will increase in the future. The urbanization strategy of the government will likely raise the number of migrants with limited hukou rights, if it is not accompanied by respective reforms. Therefore, the transformation towards consumption driven growth is endangered without further reforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Dreger, Christian & Wang, Tongsan & Zhang, Yanqun, 2013. "Understanding Chinese consumption: The impact of hukou," Discussion Papers 343, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:euvwdp:343
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dreger, Christian & Zhang, Yanqun, 2017. "The Hukou Impact on the Chinese Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 10720, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Elliott, Robert J.R. & Sun, Puyang & Zhu, Tong, 2017. "The direct and indirect effect of urbanization on energy intensity: A province-level study for China," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 677-692.
    3. Dreger, Christian & Zhang, Yanqun, 2014. "Does the economic integration of China affect growth and inflation in industrial countries?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 184-189.
    4. Robert J R Elliott & Puyang Sun & Tong Zhu, 2014. "Urbanization and Energy Intensity: A Province-level Study for China," Discussion Papers 14-05, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Chinese private consumption; urbanization strategy; hukou system;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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