Rural households in China have experienced a steadily increasing rise in their real income over the last twenty years as economic reforms have revitalized this sector. Analyzing an unusual natural experiment generated by an increase in prices paid for mandatory grain procurement in China post-1993, I seek to provide evidence around how an increase in permanent income affects households’ production portfolio. Evidence suggests that households experiencing positive income shocks substitute away from agricultural production and are more likely to migrate and to invest in non-agricultural production. They also increase their observed levels of borrowing and non-staple consumption.
General Motors and Apple sold more cars and iPhones in China than in the US, but their sales were not counted as US exports to China, as these were made and sold in China. Policymakers should look at both trade and local sales by foreign firms (the FDI channel) to gauge bilateral economic balance. We estimate that US firms sold more goods and services to China than Chinese firms sold to the US in 2017, once the FDI channel is taken into account.
Although studies on economic inequality and intergenerational mobility have gained traction in the last decade, little is known about the temporal changes in the intergenerational association of economic status, especially in developing and transitional economies. We find an increasing pattern in intergenerational income persistence across China’s transitional period. To promote intergenerational mobility, the Chinese government should continue to remove rural-urban migration barriers and initiate various programs to subsidize the education of children from disadvantaged families, known as the “left-behind” children.
China’s spectacular growth over the 2000s has slowed since 2013. The driving force behind the country’s growth was investment, so the key to understanding the slowdown lies in understanding what sustained investment in the past. This column shows how a preferential credit policy promoting heavy industrialisation explains the trends and cycles in China’s macroeconomy over the past two decades. This policy was not without negative consequences, particularly in terms of the distortions it introduced for business finance. Going forward, China needs to focus on creating the right incentives for banks to make loans to small productive businesses.