nep-cna New Economics Papers
on China
Issue of 2016‒01‒03
six papers chosen by
Zheng Fang
Ohio State University

  1. Diversity of firm sizes, complexity, and industry structure in the Chinese economy By Heinrich, Torsten; Dai, Shuanping
  2. A Darwinian Perspective on “Exchange Rate Undervaluation” By Du , Qingyuan; Wei , Shang-Jin
  3. Urban Systems and Urban Development in the People’s Republic of China By Chen, Zhao; Lu, Ming
  4. China’s Debt: Structure, Determinants and Sustainability By Sun, Lixin
  5. The Competitive Saving Motive: Concept, Evidence, and Implications By Wei , Shang-Jin; Zhang, Xiaobo
  6. The Integration of Energy, Environment and Health Policies in China: A Review By Huijie Yan

  1. By: Heinrich, Torsten; Dai, Shuanping
    Abstract: Among the phenomena in economics that are not yet well-understood is the fat-tailed (power-law) distribution of firm sizes in the world´s economies. Different mechanisms suggested in the literature to explain this distribution of firm sizes are discussed in the present paper. The paper uses the China Industrial Enterprises Database to study the distribution (firm size in terms of the number of employees, capital, and gross profit) for the provinces of China for the years 1998-2008. We estimate the power-law distribution and confirm its plausibility using the KS test and the log-likelihood ratio vs. lognormal and exponential distributions. The analysis on regional levels allows an assessment of regional effects on differences in the distribution; we discuss possible explanations for the observed patterns in the light of the recent regional economic development in the PRC.
    Keywords: firm size distribution,evolutionary industry dynamics,power-law distribution,China
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Du , Qingyuan (Monash University); Wei , Shang-Jin (Asian Development Bank)
    Abstract: This paper studies how status competition for marriage partners can generate surprising effects on the real exchange rate (RER). In theory, a rise in the sex ratio(increasing relative surplus of men) can generate a decline in the RER. The effect can be quantitatively large if the biological desire for a marriage partner is strong. We also provide within-the People’s Republic of China and cross country empirical evidence to support the theory. As an application, our cross-country estimation suggests that sex ratio as well as other factors in the existing literature can account for the recent evolution in Chinese RER almost completely.
    Keywords: currency manipulation; equilibrium real exchange rate; surplus men
    JEL: F31 F42 J10 J70
    Date: 2015–10–07
  3. By: Chen, Zhao (Asian Development Bank Institute); Lu, Ming (Asian Development Bank Institute)
    Abstract: The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is experiencing a trend toward population concentration in its large coastal cities. However, at the same time, there is also a distortion of city size toward small cities in the country. That is to say, the urban population in the PRC should further concentrate in large cities rather than be more equally spread out. Cross-country analysis indicates that the population size of the primary city in the PRC is smaller than its predicted value. This paper suggests that the PRC government should adjust its policies on future urbanization for fewer restrictions on the further growth of megacities.
    Keywords: urbanization; megacities; population concentration
    JEL: O18 P25 R12
    Date: 2015–12–28
  4. By: Sun, Lixin
    Abstract: In this paper, we analyse the evolution of China’s debt structure in terms of a new comprehensive debt dataset and then identify the determinants of China’s debt structure using stepwise multivariate regression; furthermore, employing a fiscal space framework and DSR approach, we assess the sustainability of China’s domestic and external debt. The empirical results suggest that first, China’s GDP growth rate, the borrowing costs and the financial markets’ development are key common determining factors for China’s debt structure; second, the highly indebted local governments and non-financial corporations could lead to potential risks for China’s financial stability. Nevertheless, China’s debt by sector is sound and sustainable in the near and medium term.
    Keywords: Debt Structure; Debt Sustainability; Public and Private Debt; China’s Economy
    JEL: E62 H63 H74
    Date: 2015–08
  5. By: Wei , Shang-Jin (Asian Development Bank); Zhang, Xiaobo (Peking University)
    Abstract: This short essay surveys recent literature on the competitive saving motive and its broader economic implications. The competitive saving motive is defined as saving to improve one's status relative to other competitors for dating and marriage partners. Here are some of the key results of the recent literature: (i) cross-country evidence show that greater gender imbalances tend to correspond with higher savings rates; (ii) household-level evidence suggest that: (a) families with unmarried sons in rural regions with more skewed sex ratios tend to have higher savings rates, while savings rates of families with unmarried daughters appear uncorrelated with gender imbalances; and (b) savings rates of families in cities tend to rise with the local sex ratio; (iii) rising sex ratios contribute nearly half of the rise in housing prices in the People’s Republic of China; and (iv) families with sons in regions of greater sex ratios are more likely to become entrepreneurs and take risky jobs to earn more income.
    Keywords: competition; current account; saving; sex ratio
    JEL: D14 E21 F30 I10 J12 J20
    Date: 2015–11–26
  6. By: Huijie Yan (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM) - AMU - Aix-Marseille Université)
    Abstract: The goal of sustainable development is far from being achieved in China. In this context, this paper aims to provide an overview of China’s energy, environment and health policies over the past 30 years and discuss whether the previous policies have fully integrated the energy, environment and health issues in its sustainable development agenda. From the overview, we observe that the energy policies accelerating energy industrial upgrading, stimulating development of new energy sources, deregulating energy pricing mechanism, promoting energy saving and seizing the opportunity of green growth are conducive to an improvement of environmental conditions and public health in China. However, the environmental policies are not effectively implemented and subsequently they could not succeed in reducing environmental risks on public health and putting pressure on enterprises to efficiently use energy. The health policies have not taken real actions to focus with any specificity on energy-induced or pollution-induced health problems.
    Keywords: energy,environment,health,China
    Date: 2015–12

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