Frontiers of Economics in China

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ISSN 1673-3568(Online)

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An Agenda for Reforming Economic Theory
Joseph E. Stiglitz
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (2): 149-167.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0009-3
Abstract   PDF (220KB)

In this article, Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Stiglitz argues that the standard macro-economic paradigm has failed not only to predict the crisis but also to provide insights into the design of a regulatory framework that would make a recurrence less likely. He points out that many of the underlying assumptions of the standard paradigm always seemed implausible and many of its predictions, such as those concerning the micro-economic behavior of the constituents (firms and households), are inconsistent with the empirical evidence. He then identifies a number of key modeling challenges, what he views as key ingredients that have to be incorporated in any model that is going to describe economic fluctuations or be the basis of a well-designed regulatory or monetary framework.

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Where Are We in the Economics of Industrial Policies?
Dani Rodrik
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (3): 329-335.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060–008–019–0015–2
Abstract   PDF (185KB)

Research on industrial policy has taken off, leading to a better understanding of when such policies effectively harness economic development. This article reviews the recent literature on the economics of industrial policies. Until recently, empirical studies on industrial policies came largely in one of two types: detailed country/region studies and cross-industry or cross-country econometric studies. I point out that the country/region studies had the usual problem that it was difficult to trace the effects of success to specific industrial policies, while the econometric studies suffered from the problem of misspecification. I show that a new generation of work has been moving us beyond the largely ideological debates of the past to a more contextual, pragmatic understanding.

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Premature Deindustrialisation in the Developing World
Dani Rodrik
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (1): 1-6.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0001-9
Abstract   PDF (1015KB)

As developed economies have substituted away from manufacturing towards services, so too have developing countries—to an even greater extent. Such sectoral change may be premature for economies that never fully industrialised in the first place. This article presents evidence that countries with smaller manufacturing sectors substitute away from manufacturing to a larger extent, suggesting a trade channel through which falling international relative prices of manufacturing lead price-taking developing economies to substitute accordingly.

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China’s Growth Deceleration: Causes and Future Growth Prospect
Justin Yifu Lin
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (1): 26-52.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0003-1
Abstract   PDF (1314KB)

China’s growth decelerated substantially after 2010. This paper argues that the main cause for the deceleration is external and cyclical, China has a potential growth rate of 8%, the economy has good investment opportunities and resources, and China is likely to achieve a medium-high growth rate of around 6.5% in the coming years. The paper also examines the various structural reforms that can help China to release its growth potential and complete the transition to a well-functioning market economy.

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Deceleration of China’s Economic Growth: Causes and Countermeasures
Guoqiang Tian
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (1): 3-25.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0002-4
Abstract   PDF (5250KB)

China’s economic growth has been declining continuously at a rapid rate since 2011. It dropped to 6.7% in 2016 by more than 3% from nearly 10% average growth rate during 1979–2010. As for its causes, there are different interpretations among Chinese economists. One of the interpretations, which is held by some scholars including Justin Yifu Lin, is that external and cyclical factors are the main causes for the decline. The author disagrees with this viewpoint and holds that the root cause of economic deceleration is the delay in deep institutional reforms. An inclusive economy and state coercive capacity are two essential ingredients for sustaining economic prosperity. China must further enhance economic inclusiveness, and accelerate its transition into an efficiency-driven and innovation-driven economy through deepened comprehensive marketization reforms. Meanwhile, it should further strengthen the rule of law to build a limited government that is capable, accountable, effective and caring.

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Examining the Factors Affecting Personal Income: An Empirical Study Based on Survey Data in Chinese Cities
Lihui Wang, Junyi Shen
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (4): 515-544.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0022-0
Abstract   PDF (441KB)

This paper empirically analyzes the factors affecting personal income in urban China using survey data of the “Preference and Life Satisfaction Survey” conducted by the Global COE project of Osaka University from 2009 to 2013. We consider education level as an endogenous variable, and both ordinary least squares (OLS) regression and instrumental variable (IV) regression are performed. We find a number of factors, such as sex, age, education, and marriage that significantly affect personal income. In addition, differences between different occupations are also investigated.

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Research on the Education of Migrant Children in China: A Review of the Literature
Yuanyuan Chen, Shuaizhang Feng, Yujie Han
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (2): 168-202.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0010-7
Abstract   PDF (1139KB)

With the rapid urbanization and mass internal migration in China during the past several decades, the population of children who migrate with their parents to the cities has now reached over 35 million. The education of migrant children poses significant challenges to China’s hukou based education system. In this paper, we first review the policy developments and descriptive studies related to migrant children’s education to offer a comprehensive view of the issue. We then provide in-depth examination of several important quantitative literatures, including the effect of parental migration on children’s education, schooling choices of migrant children and their impacts on school performance, peer effects of migrant children in urban public schools. Overall, although considerable progress has been made regarding migrant children’s education in China, more fundamental policy reforms are necessary to improve the quality of migrant children’s education at the compulsory education level and beyond.

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Growth and Cycles in China’s Unbalanced Development: Resource Misallocation, Debt Overhang, Economic Inequality, and the Importance of Structural Reforms
Kevin X.D. Huang
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (1): 53-71.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0004-8
Abstract   PDF (935KB)

The recent China’s growth slowdown is both cyclical and secular, driven by external and internal factors. In this article, I highlight several key internal factors that have hindered China’s growth in recent years. These include worsening misallocation of resources and declining growth of total factor productivity, plus rising household income inequality and debt overhang in the face of tightened liquidity constraint. All of these show the urgency for deepening reforms in China’s key macroeconomic landscapes in order to remove institutional barriers and distortions deep-rooted in the nation’s economic and financial structure, and to correct fundamental imperfections of its social- economic system. I argue that such reforms are of critical importance for China’s pursuit of healthy and sustainable growth and of balanced and adequate development going forward.

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The Slowdown of China’s Economic Growth in Terms of Statistics
Xianchun Xu
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (1): 72-79.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0005-5
Abstract   PDF (514KB)

The paper discusses the falling back of economic growth from four aspects. From the aspect of production, the traditional industry has the greatest impact on the falling back of economic growth. From the perspective of demand, the consumption demand, investment demand, and export demand have jointly caused the falling back of the economic growth, in which the pulling function of investment demand is more obvious. From the standpoint of cardinality, the growth rate of the economy is restrained by the increase of economic scale. From the perspective of production factors, changes in the supply of labor force affect the falling back of economic growth rate.

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Export Performance of China: A Constant Market Share Analysis
Nidhi Bagaria, Saba Ismail
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (1): 110-130.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0007-9
Abstract   PDF (3063KB)

In the light of the fact that there has been substantial growth in China’s exports in last three decades, particularly after China joined the WTO in 2001, this article investigates the major sources of China’s export performance during 2002–2014 by using the constant market share (CMS) model. In this study, exports are further decomposed in three categories based on their technological intensity using Lall (2000) classification on 3 digit SITC Revision-3 data provided by UN Comtrade via WITS database. The categories are high technology, medium technology and low technology. It is found that growth of China’s exports has, moreover, remained above world exports growth in all three categories during the period of study. The analysis reveals that export performance is mainly attributed to its competitive strength in the global market, though decreasing trend has been observed in the competitiveness of all three categories. Increasing cost of labor and appreciating RMB could be the causes behind decreasing competitiveness of Chinese exports. Product structure effect, on an average, has turned out to be negative in all the categories which is the most disturbing aspect of China’s export performance. On the other hand, geographical structure effect has positive impact on export performance of high-technology based exports whereas it has negative impact on export performance of low-technology and medium-technology based exports. China being the world’s largest exporter, decreasing competitiveness and wrong product structure effect could adversely influence its export performance in particular and its growth in general.

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Tackle China’s Economic Complexities by Deepening Reform and Opening Up: Macroeconomic Outlook, Policy Simulations, and Reform Implementation—A Summary of the Annual SUFE Macroeconomic Report (2018–2019)
Kevin X.D. Huang, Guoqiang Tian, Yuqin Wang
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (1): 80-109.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0006-2
Abstract   PDF (757KB)

Faced with complicated external and internal challenges, China’s economy continues to see sluggish growth in 2018. Rapid accumulation of household debts, exacerbation in income inequality, tightened real sector liquidity, escalated trade tensions with the US, and weakened external demand pose key problems in China’s macroeconomic landscape. The status quo is exacerbated by soaring uncertainty and weakening confidence in the face of persistent resource misallocations and institutional distortions, which cast more shadow on the already dampened consumer sentiment, sluggish private investment growth, and fallen foreign reserves. This summary report highlights the urgency of deeper structural reforms for tackling the various internal and external problems. Based on the IAR-CMM model, with both cyclical and secular factors taken into consideration, our baseline forecast of real GDP growth rate is 6.4% (6.1% using more reliable instead of the official data) in 2019. Alternative scenario analyses and policy simulations are conducted to assess the consequences of possible downside risks and the corresponding policy options needed to ensure the assumed growth targets. These analyses lead us to conclude that comprehensively deepening reform and opening up, which should be both rule-of-law based and market-oriented, with well-designed and well-conceived strategies that properly weigh short-, medium-, and long-term benefits and costs, should continue to be set as the guidance for China’s transformation into a phase with sustainable and high-quality growth.

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Kreps & Scheinkman with Product Differentiation
Stephen Martin
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (2): 203-219.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0011-4
Abstract   PDF (884KB)

Kreps and Scheinkman (1983)’s celebrated result is that in a two-stage model of a market with homogeneous products in which firms noncooperatively pick capacities in the first stage and set prices in the second stage, the equilibrium outcome is that of a one-shot Cournot game. This note derives capacity best response functions for the first stage and extends the Kreps and Scheinkman result to the case of differentiated products.

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Forecasting Chinese Corporate Bond Defaults: Comparative Study of Market- vs. Accounting-Based Models
Michael Peng, Dongkai Jiang, Yingjie Wang
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (4): 536-582.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0022-8
Abstract   PDF (1675KB)

This paper provides the first empirical study on bond defaults in the Chinese market. It overcomes the deficiencies of existing methods, which suffer from lack of actual default data for back testing. With newly available bond default data, we analyze the roles of market variables against accounting variables under various models. While we find that Merton’s market-based structural model and KMV’s Distance to Default exhibit languid discriminating power compared with hazard models that have carefully constructed predictors, other market variables carry significant information about bond defaults and could help improve on models with only the accounting variables. This implies that the collective intelligence of the market could somehow mitigate the distortion caused by misreported accounting information. Further, model performance can be significantly improved by adding predicting variables that link an individual financial measure to the broader market performance, such as the relative margin—a business environment proxy introduced in this study. We not only shed light on the default behavior of the Chinese bond market, but also provide a promising approach to improve the variable selection process.

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Why Does the World Need a Reserve Asset with a Hard Anchor?
Dongsheng Di, Warren Coats, Yuxuan Zhao
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (4): 545-570.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0023-7
Abstract   PDF (835KB)

From the 1970s, the global currency system has two features: the use of one or a few sovereign currencies as the global reserve asset and the floating exchange rate regime between major currencies. This paper points out that the costs of the dollar’s use as an international reserve currency exceed the benefits for both the US and the rest of the world. These costs include the exporting of American manufacturing as a byproduct of its current account deficit needed to supply its currency to the rest of the world. In addition to the detriment to trade from unpredictable exchange rate fluctuations, the termination of the U.S. obligation to redeem its currency for gold also removed an important restraint on deficit financing for the US and many other countries in the short-run, thus promoting excessive leverage that was a major contributor to the 2008 financial crisis. The paper suggests replacing several main countries’ currencies in international reserves with a real Special Drawing Right (SDR) issued according to currency board rules.

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Product Market Competition and Innovation: What Can We Learn from Economic Theory?
Zhiqi Chen
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (3): 450-464.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0019-2
Abstract   PDF (231KB)

By means of a literature review, this paper strives to provide some clarity on the much-debated relationship between product market competition and firms’ incentives to innovate. It shows that in the literature there does not exist a robust relationship between competition and incentives to innovate. Therefore, it would be futile to continue the debate over whether competition stimulates or hinders innovation. A more useful approach is to make a distinction between pre-innovation competition and post-innovation competition, as it provides a way for reconciling many of the seemingly contradictory findings from the literature. Another important insight from the literature is that the relationship between competition and innovation depends on the source of increased competition.

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Multi-Dimensional Product Differentiation
Qihong Liu, Jie Shuai
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (4): 497-535.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0021-1
Abstract   PDF (602KB)

We analyze product differentiation in a multi-dimensional model with non-uniform consumer distribution. The level of product differentiation is measured by both unit transport costs and firms’ locations. Our analysis concerns both measures. First, fixing firms’ locations, we show that equilibrium prices can increase or decrease with unit transport costs. The overall result depends on the interplay of a shifting effect and a rotating effect—the latter exists only in multi-dimensional models. Second, fixing unit transport costs, we find that under non-uniform distribution, there may exist no equilibrium where firms maximize differentiation on one dimension but minimize differentiation on other dimensions. Instead, there may exist an equilibrium where firms choose intermediate locations, contrary to common findings in existing studies which assume uniform distribution.

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Effectiveness of Monetary Policy in China: Evidence from Factor-Augmented Vector Autoregression Model
Yunpeng Sun, Jingjia Zhang
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (3): 336-370.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060–008–019–0016–9
Abstract   PDF (5168KB)

Since 2002, the People’s Bank of China has frequently used both quantity-based direct monetary instruments and price-based indirect monetary instruments to promote economic growth and stabilize price level. Specifically, this study estimates 13 three-variable factor-augmented vector autoregression (FAVAR) models to explore how two types of monetary instruments affect China’s economy and price level. Overall, we find that monetary policy has positive effects on China’s economy and price level. Second, this study clearly states that the effectiveness of China’s monetary policy on the economy has depended on China’s quantity-based direct monetary instruments since 2002. Third, the effectiveness of quantity-based direct monetary instruments on China’s economy and price level is dependent on the significant and positive effects of quantity-based direct monetary instruments after the 2008 financial crisis. Fourth, the significant and positive effects of price-based indirect monetary instruments on China’s economy and price level before 2008 cannot fundamentally change their current insignificant effects on China’s economy and price level.

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Reference Dependent Preference and Labor Supply: Evidence from China
Guanfu Fang, Guanliang Hu, Lan Yao
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (2): 264-301.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0013-8
Abstract   PDF (1052KB)

This paper investigates the daily labor supply decisions of Hangzhou cabdrivers. We find that Hangzhou cabdrivers’ wage elasticity is significantly positive, their working decisions are largely affected by shift time, and crude proxy variables for income; hours targets can hardly explain their working behavior. Nevertheless, Hangzhou cabdrivers are still affected by reference dependent preference. Using new empirical strategies, we show that cabdrivers are more likely to continue working when wage rates are unexpectedly low and more likely to quit when wage rates are unexpectedly high.

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An Overlapping-Generations Model of Firm Heterogeneity in Economic Development
Yu Chen, Haiwen Zhou
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (4): 660-676.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0027-5
Abstract   PDF (323KB)

We study firm heterogeneity in economic development in an overlapping-generations general equilibrium model in which manufacturing firms engage in oligopolistic competition. Individuals differ in their productivities in the manufacturing sector and choose to become entrepreneurs or workers. The model is surprisingly tractable. In the steady state, an increase in the entry barrier in the manufacturing sector or an increase in the percentage of income spent on the agricultural good decreases the wage rate, but the level of output in the manufacturing sector does not necessarily decrease. An increase in the degree of patience of an individual increases the steady state wage rate and the capital stock. Even with increasing returns in manufacturing and constant returns in agriculture, neither the wage rate nor the output level in the manufacturing sector may increase with population size.

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Regional and Sectoral Patterns and Determinants of Comparative Advantage in China
William Charles Sawyer, Kiril Tochkov, Wenting Yu
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (1): 7-36.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0002-6
Abstract   PDF (1244KB)

China’s export performance is marked by large regional disparities which affect trade patterns at the national level. This paper uses data from input-output tables to estimate the comparative advantage of Chinese provinces in the three main economic sectors over the period 1992–2007. In contrast to existing studies, we include the services sector in the analysis and construct not only indices of revealed comparative advantage for overall trade, but also bilateral indices for interprovincial trade. The results indicate that West and Central China have a comparative advantage in agriculture/mining, coastal provinces in manufacturing, and metropolitan provinces in services. However, interprovincial trade exhibits a more complex pattern. Regression analysis identifies labor endowments as the key determinant of comparative advantage in total trade, while physical capital is the driving force in domestic trade. Human capital and government spending have a positive effect, whereas industrial loans and taxes, along with provincial trade barriers, impair comparative advantage.

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Coordination Costs, Market Size, and the Choice of Technology
Haiwen Zhou
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (1): 131-148.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0008-6
Abstract   PDF (265KB)

Impact of coordination costs and market size on a firm’s choice of technology is studied in a general equilibrium model in which firms engage in oligopolistic competition. A firm establishes an organizational hierarchy to coordinate its production. First, it is shown that an increase in market size leads a firm to choose a more specialized technology. Second, surprisingly, a robust result is that an increase in the level of coordination efficiency leads a firm to choose a less specialized technology.

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Malaysia-Japan Commodity Trade and Asymmetric Effects of Exchange Rate Changes
Mohsen Bahmani-Oskooee, Muhammad Aftab
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (2): 220-263.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0012-1
Abstract   PDF (2474KB)

Asymmetry analysis is a new norm in applied research and the link between the trade balance and the exchange rate is no exception. In this paper we investigate the asymmetric response of the trade balance of each of the 60 industries that trade between Malaysia and Japan. We find short-run asymmetric effects of exchange rate changes on the trade balance of 50 industries (including the two largest industries), short-run adjustment asymmetry in 47 industries, and short-run impact asymmetry in 30 industries. However, short-run asymmetric effects lasted into the long run only in limited number of industries. Results are industry-specific at best.

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Do BRICS Have Similar Disaggregated Trade Patterns with Different Regions?
Farkhondeh Jabalameli, Ehsan Rasoulinezhad
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (2): 302-328.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-008-019-0014-5
Abstract   PDF (1654KB)

This is the first study attempting to investigate the patterns of BRICS’ imports and exports with five United Nations regional groups: the African, Asia-Pacific, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, and Western European and Others. A panel data gravity trade model with series from 2001 to 2016 was used to estimate the gravity variables in the models. The main results provide evidence that reinforced the dissimilarities in the foreign trade patterns of BRICS with these five regional groups. The econometric results substantiated that BRICS’ foreign trade patterns are sensitive to changes in the economies of trading partners from the more developed regions. This is evidence for stronger economic ties between BRICS and the more developed regions such as Western Europe and Asia-Pacific. It also reveals the trade convergence of BRICS in these developed regions.

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Industrialized Innovation: The Connection of Science & Technology Innovation with Industrial Innovation
Yinxing Hong, Yao Lu, Jianghuai Zheng
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (3): 400-417.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0017-8
Abstract   PDF (302KB)

In light of the relationship and the current disconnection between science & technology (S&T) innovation and industrial innovation in China, it is necessary to put forward and emphasize the concept of industrialized innovation. Industrialized innovation is the bridge and intermediation between S&T innovation and industrial innovation, which is not only a concept, but also a mechanism and combination force. There are two ways to achieve industrialized innovation: through industry-university-research coordination and through technology entrepreneurship. The meaning of industry-university-research coordination is not about coordination among industry, university and research sectors in an institutional sense; rather it is about the coordination of the functions of cultivation and development in new industries, new technologies, and new talents of industrialized innovation. The incentive mechanism for industrialized innovation should motivate not only innovation but also coordination. Technology entrepreneurship is the industrialization of new technology through business start-ups, which occurs beyond the stage of incubation and development of new technology. The capital of technology entrepreneurship is the set consisting of knowledge capital manifested through technological innovation, human capital manifested through entrepreneurs, and physical capital in the form of venture capital. While physical capital is indispensable, knowledge capital and human capital play the decisive role in technology entrepreneurship. The industrialization of technological innovation involves two requirements: one is to enable the new technology industry to achieve a large scale rapidly, and the other is to fully realize the potential value of the new technology. Both requirements are reliant on effective innovation in business models.

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China’s Investments in Skills
James J. Heckman, Shuaizhang Feng
Front. Econ. China    2018, 13 (4): 531-558.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-007-018-0025-5
Abstract   PDF (8146KB)

This paper discusses the benefits of investment in skills in China. We highlight the achievements China has made over time in human capital investments and the new challenges that have emerged as the country develops. To fuel China’s further economic growth and social developments, it is essential to take a more holistic view on skill investments. We suggest policies that promote both economic efficiency and social mobility.

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Impacts of the Contributions of FDI and Remittances on the Economic Growth in Asia and Latin America: A Comparative Study
Leo H. Chan, Maritza Sotomayor, Donald Lien
Front. Econ. China    2019, 14 (3): 371-400.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060–008–019–0017–6
Abstract   PDF (324KB)

Foreign direct investment (FDI) and foreign remittance have been the main sources of external capital inflows for many developing countries. FDI has been credited as the main driver of rapid economic growth in many Asian countries/regions in recent decades. However, this effect of FDI on long-run economic growth has not been observed in Latin American countries. Now, the question is whether FDI and an increase in foreign remittances in the past two decades have achieved expected positive results in terms of economic growth for emerging economies. This study uses a generalized method of moments (GMM) dynamic panel model to quantify the impacts of FDI and foreign remittances as sources of foreign capital for Asia and Latin America. Our findings suggest that FDI and remittances perform differently in different regions in terms of their impacts on GDP growth. Countries that have specific policies (i.e., industrial policy, domestic content requirement, and export production targets) for FDI are likely to derive more significant benefits from FDI and remittances. Developing countries that are emerging or lagging should learn from the countries with positive outcomes and implement similar policies.

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“One Belt and One Road” and Free Trade Zones—China’s New Opening-up Initiatives
Justin Yifu Lin
Front. Econ. China    2015, 10 (4): 585-590.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-004-015-0026-0
Abstract   PDF (187KB)

“One Belt and One Road” and Free Trade Zones are two of China’s new opening-up strategies developed in response to the changed domestic and international circumstances. Implementation of these strategies can provide China with a sounder market economic system and a better external environment. It can not only help China to further develop into a high income country, but also facilitate the industrialization and modernization of other developing countries.

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The Spread of Western Economics in China: Features and Influence (1840–1949)
Lin Cheng, Shen Zhang
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (2): 193-227.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0010-9
Abstract   PDF (1345KB)

The spread of Western economics in modern China is a content-rich historical event which has taken more than a century. A complete understanding of this event depends on the analysis and summary of its features. This paper suggests that the spread of Western economics in modern China exhibits five main features: openness, periodicity, applicability, localization and limitation. Openness reflects the active attitude of Chinese scholars to learning and propagating Western economics. Periodicity reflects the changes in its effectiveness and focus over time. Applicability reflects its goal of promoting the development of Chinese economics and providing policy applications for China’s economic growth. Localization of Western economic theories in China follows the trend of selected introduction and modification according to local situations. And limitation is inevitable because of the many difficulties facing the spread of Western economics during early modern times. Furthermore, this spread has a profound impact on China which is embodied in its features: it promotes the establishment of Chinese modern economics, provides appropriate examples for the modernization and evolution of Chinese society, and promotes transformation of the traditional economic system in China.

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Are Central and Western Chinese Provinces Catching up with the East? An Empirical Analysis of Convergence Processes across China
Marlies Schütz, Han Li, Nicole Palan
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (4): 571-606.   https://doi.org/10.3868/s060-006-017-0024-4
Abstract   PDF (1748KB)

Since the Reform and Opening-up policy had been implemented in 1978, mainland China has experienced significant economic growth, with GDP rising on an annual average of about 10%. However, this growth miracle was far from being evenly distributed across space. It is, therefore, the aim of this paper to study the evolution of spatial disparities in economic development across the country between 1993 and 2012, a period which is characterized by all provinces having access to international markets and being open for international investors. We seek to answer the question of whether Central and Western Chinese provinces were catching up with the East. We define ‘catching up’ as a growing similarity among spatial units. Convergence processes might manifest in four dimensions, including (1) the spatial allocation of employment, value added generation and the fixed capital stock, (2) forms of technical change, (3) productivity patterns, and (4) income distribution. Results show that persistent phases of convergence appeared. However, in some cases the catching up of China’s less developed parts with the flourishing East was limited to only a few Western and Central Chinese provinces. A high degree of path-dependency in economic development prevented catching up from taking place in a more uniform manner.

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