Frontiers of Economics in China

ISSN 1673-3444

ISSN 1673-3568(Online)

CN 11-5744/F

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A theoretical investigation of the reformed public health insurance in urban China
DING Jihong, ZHU Minglai
Front Econ Chin. 2009, 4 (1): 1-29.

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With its transition to a market-oriented economy, China has gone through significant changes in health care delivery and financing systems in the last three decades. Since 1998, a new public health insurance program for urban employees, called Basic Medical Insurance Program (BMI), has been established. One theme of this reform was to control medical service over-consumption with new cost containment methods. This paper attempts to evaluate the effects of the reformed public health insurance on health care utilization, with in-depth theoretical investigation. We formulate a health care demand model based on the structure of health care delivery and health insurance systems in China. It is assumed in the model that physicians have pure monopoly power in determining patients’ health care utilization. The major inference is that the insurance co-payment mechanism cannot reduce medical service over-utilization effectively without any efforts to control physicians’ behavior. Meanwhile, we use the calibrated simulation to demonstrate our hypothesis in the theoretical model. The main implication is that physicians’ incentive to over utilize medical services for their own benefits is significant and severe in China.

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Structural instability of China inflation dynamics
ZHANG Chengsi
Front Econ Chin. 2009, 4 (1): 30-45.

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This article employs recently developed unknown structural break tests to investigate intrinsic structural instability in China inflation dynamics over 1981–2007. In order to capture accurately the statistical nature of potential structural beak, we use asymptotic p-value function under the non-standard distribution condition to compute the p-values for structural change tests in the presence of nuisance parameter. Empirical results suggest that China inflation dynamics witnessed a significant structural change at the end of 1994 and the instability appears to be originated from the dynamic parameters in the underlying model. The paper discusses important policy implications of the empirical findings through impulse response analyses.

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An empirical study on educational investment for all levels of higher education in China
Front Econ Chin. 2009, 4 (1): 46-61.

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With the expanding of higher education in China from 1999, more and more youngsters are able to invest in higher education, resulting a high unemployment rate for higher education graduates and more and more graduates employed in non-graduate position, while the analysis upon risk and return to each level of high education is absent due to the limitation of dataset. The paper employs college students sample survey to research the determinants of all levels of higher education beginning wages, the probability to find an appropriate job in order to conclude the risks and returns to each level of higher education based on the wages growth rate and economic development. The research finds the return to master degree is the highest, but the risk is the lowest in China.

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The analysis of intra-industry trade on agricultural products of China
Front Econ Chin. 2009, 4 (1): 62-75.

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By using HS classification, the author has divided total agricultural products into 24 categories. The paper calculated the G-L intra-industry trade index, Brülhart marginal intra-industry trade index, and Thom & McDowell marginal industry trade index for each type of agricultural products during the period from 1996 to 2005 in China. The conclusion shows the overall level of agricultural intra-industry trade is relatively low, and Brülhart index indicates China’s agricultural products decades of improvement mainly from inter-industry trade, at the same time Thom & McDowell index shows that China’s agricultural intra-industry trade growth is mainly from the growth of vertical intra-industry trade.

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Resident’s comparative assessment on domestic versus foreign financial institutions: Evidence from nine cities in China
LI Tao, HE Xingqiang, ZHOU Kaiguo
Front Econ Chin. 2009, 4 (1): 76-96.

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Between domestic financial institutions and foreign or joint venture ones in China, which ones do Chinese people give better assessment to? And what factors affect those comparative assessments? With a household survey in nine cities in China in 2006, we find that China’s domestic financial institutions are considered better than foreign or joint venture ones in terms of financial products, communication with investors, security and prudence, operation standardization and service attitudes. When taken into account the endogeneity of people’s trust on government regulation agencies, empirical results show that people’s more attention to returns or the more trust on government regulation agencies leads to their better assessments on domestic financial institutions than foreign or joint venture ones. The policy implications are: Chinese governments have to take measures to improve residents’ trust in governmental regulation and create a fair competition environment for domestic and foreign financial institutions in China. Domestic and foreign financial institutions make efforts to develop a higher rate-of-return and attractive financial products to service more customers.

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The dynamics of China’s expenditure on R&D
LI Ping, YU Guocai
Front Econ Chin. 2009, 4 (1): 97-109.

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R&D investment is enterprises’ strategy based on the market demand on innovative products and its production capacity for them. Enlarging market demand would spur the enterprises’ R&D input and the enhancement of technology state in production ability could have a complex effect on less developed countries’ R&D expenditure. With the measurement of China’s technology state compared to the United States and Japan, this paper explores with the state space model the dynamic effects of determinants on China’s R&D expenditure with the data during 1987–2006. The result illustrates that the growing national income, a proxy of domestic market demand, impedes the further R&D investment in China due to the enormous demand for necessities dominated by lower income class, and the income inequality is the major incentive for R&D investment via the higher pricing on the wealthy group, and that the improvement of technology state reduces the innovation risk and plays an important role in stimulating R&D expenditure.

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Industrial energy substitution and a revised Allen elasticity in China
LU Chengjun, ZHOU Duanming
Front Econ Chin. 2009, 4 (1): 110-124.

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To overcome the drawbacks in estimating the rate of input substitution in existing econometric models, our paper is first to estimate the absolute/net rate of input substitution of capital and labor for energy in China’s industrial sector. Based on trans-log cost function with constant elasticity of substitution and combined MES method with technology progress and output effect, our paper finds a significant substitution relationship between labor and energy and an uncertain substitution relationship between capital and energy with some complementary characteristics. Furthermore, technology progress and output effect are found to have enhanced the substitution of labor for energy in the past 30 years. Based on these empirical findings, constructive suggestions are made concerning the medium and long-term development strategy of energy in China’s industrial sector.

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Energy exploitation and economic growth in Western China: An empirical analysis based on the resource curse hypothesis
SHAO Shuai, QI Zhongying
Front Econ Chin. 2009, 4 (1): 125-152.

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Based on resource curse hypothesis, this paper carries out an econometric analysis on the relationship and its transmission mechanism between energy exploitation and economic growth with cross-province panel data over 1991–2006. Results reveal that there is the significantly negative correlation between energy exploitation and economic growth, which indicates since the 1990s, the resource curse effect from energy exploitation has appeared evidently; though, before the implementation of the Western development strategy, energy exploitation acted negatively on opening degree, S&T innovation and human capital input, the effect was yet uncreated. However, after the implementation of the strategy, the effect emerged evidently as a result of the enhanced negative effect of energy exploitation on S&T innovation and human capital input. Moreover, further tests indicate that energy exploitation impeded economic growth mainly through three indirect transmission channels: The crowding-out effect towards human capital input and S&T innovation, and the weakening of institution aroused by rent-seeking and corruption. And among them, human capital input is the strongest transmission factor.

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8 articles