We document that since December 2015 the People’s Bank of China (PBC) has followed a “two-pillar” exchange rate policy that aims to achieve both stability and flexibility. Based on a no-arbitrage model and options price data we estimate the credibility of the policy as well as its impact on the RMB/USD exchange rate. The model was able to correctly forecast the end of the two-pillar policy in May 2017.
China’s remarkable economic rise over the past three decades has yielded many benefits to its own citizens and to people all around the globe. But the export-led growth model that underpinned China’s success and its increased role in the global economy has also led over time to the development of some serious imbalances in its economy. How China deals with these imbalances will have important implications for the rest of the world going forward—in particular, the quantitative analysis reported here suggests that were China to experience a financial crisis, the hit to the rest of the world would be substantial.
Widening income inequality in China has prompted President Xi Jinping to shift focus and to emphasize the fostering of balanced, high-quality development. But how exactly did income inequality evolve over China’s growth process and what was its impact on consumption and welfare? Using a long panel of income and consumption data from thousands of rural and urban households, we document that the increasing income inequality in China mainly reflects increasing permanent income risk, against which it became harder and harder to insure consumption, over the period of rapid income growth from 1989 to 2009. In other words, as household income grew, so did income fluctuations. These income fluctuations had an increasingly direct impact on consumption. For rural households, the welfare cost from increasing income risk and increasing exposure of consumption to income risk can almost cancel out the welfare gain from accelerated income growth over those twenty years.
Our research studies the incentive costs of China’s housing booms . We use the type and actual time stamps of 9.3 million credit card transactions by over 200,000 cardholders to detect non-work-related behavior during work hours. Employees respond to positive house price shocks with an immediate and permanent increase in their propensity to use work hours to attend to personal needs. Our estimate implies an elasticity of shirking propensity with respect to house price of 1.6. The effect is driven by homeowners, especially among owners with higher housing wealth. Further analyses point to negative productivity implications of the increased shirking.
Despite reforms to the hukou household registration system and the very large rural-urban migration experienced in China, rural households are still experiencing a risk of losing their land allocation if they migrate. We argue that this risk leads to an inefficient rental market with low rents and is an impediment to migration, with consequent over-employment in agriculture and low productivity.