The lockdowns induced by Covid-19 have led to unprecedented challenges to economies across the globe. The second edition of the VoxChina Covid-19 Forum focuses on China’s post-lockdown economic recovery, with three presentations that are based on data analysis of small businesses, consumption, e-commerce, and beyond, each for 15 minutes. There will be 30 minutes of Q&As.
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 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.
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.
Using comprehensive administrative data from China, we document a substantial increase in inequality of wealth held in risky assets by Chinese households in the 2014–2015 bubble-crash episode: the top 0.5% households in the equity market gained, while the bottom 85% lost, 250B RMB through active trading in this period, equating to 30% of each group’s initial equity wealth. In comparison, the return differential between the top and bottom groups in periods of a relatively calm...