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Harry X. Wu (Hitotsubashi University): Accounting for the Industry Origin of China’s Growth and Productivity Performance, 1980–2012

This study adopts the Jorgensonian aggregate production possibility frontier framework incorporating the Domar aggregation scheme to account for the industry origin of China’s aggregate GDP and total factor productivity (TFP) growth for the period 1980-2012. The 37 industries of the CIP database are categorized into eight groups according to their exposures to government interventions to explore the “institutional effect” on the productivity performance of industries. Without challenging the official growth estimates this approach arrives at an annual GDP growth rate of 8.9 percent, rather than officially claimed double-digit, for the period 1980-2012. Of this lower estimated rate, 7.0 percentage points (ppts) is attributed to labour productivity growth and 1.9 ppts to the rise of hours worked. The increase in labour productivity can be further decomposed into capital deepening (5.7 ppts), labour quality improvement (0.5 ppts), and TFP growth (0.8 ppts). Industries that are less prone to state direct interventions such as “semi-finished & finished” manufacturing industries show faster productivity growth than those controlled by the state.

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