The spectacular ongoing housing boom in China has generated great concerns around the world about the risk of a housing bust on the Chinese economy and the world economy. This column by four Harvard economists compares this housing boom with that experienced by the U.S. in 2000s and dissects its distinct characteristics — its fundamental support, enormous construction, and the delicate role played by government policies.
China's 4 Trillion Yuan stimulus in November 2008 may have been successful in allowing China to escape from the Great Recession. But the massive increase in local government debt in the implementation of the stimulus package also led to crowd out of the more productive private sector investment. Yi Huang of Graduate Institute in Geneva and his coauthors Marco Pagano and Ugo Panizza discuss this "dark side" of the Chinese stimulus.
The paper examines China's rising domestic content in exports using firm and customs transaction-level data. China's domestic content in exports increased from 65 percent in 2000 to 70 percent in 2007. The key reason for China’s ascent on global value chains is due to individual processing exporters substituting domestic products for imported materials, induced by the country’s trade and FDI liberalizations.
We provide a theory to explain China’s excessive housing price growth in the most recent decades, despite a high vacancy rate and a high rate of return to capital. We argue that China’s housing prices contain a significant and rapidly growing bubble component. This growing housing bubble generates a substantial degree of welfare losses and resource misallocation in the capital market, which are prolonging economic transition and hindering aggregate economic growth.
The issuance of Wealth Management Products (WMPs) is an important form of shadow banking activities in China, especially after 2011. Viral Acharya, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, Prof. Jun “QJ” Qian of Fanhai International School of Finance, Fudan University and Prof. Zhishu Yang of Tsinghua University examine the causes, main players and impacts on the banking system of China’s rising WMPs. They also compare the differences between the U.S. shadow banking sector and its counterpart in China.