Human Capital in Republican and New China: Regional and Long-Term Trends

Bas van Leeuwen, Jieli Li, Peter Földvári

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In recent decades it has been debated whether China’s growth performance is primarily driven by capital accumulation (more inputs) or rather by an increase in Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth (better technology and institutions). The answer to this question may offer a glimpse into the future trends of China’s economic growth. If the perspiration factors are dominant, one should expect a slowdown in the growth of the Chinese economy in accordance with the traditional Solow model. If, however, TFP growth drives per capita GDP growth, one can expect a strong convergence of China toward the technological frontier. In this paper we combine historical, long-term analysis with quantitative methods to find out whether the effect of (both human- and physical) capital and TFP on growth changed over the last 90 years. While partly relying on existing data, lack of information required us to estimate a new dataset on human capital for the provinces of China between 1922 and 2010 which allows us to decompose the observed economic growth into accumulation driven and TFP driven parts. We find that general technological development improved steadily over the course of the 1990s and 2000s.
Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)1-36
Aantal pagina's35
TijdschriftEconomic History of Developing Regions
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusGepubliceerd - 2017


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