nep-cna New Economics Papers
on China
Issue of 2022‒11‒07
twenty papers chosen by
Zheng Fang
Ohio State University

  1. The rise of China's technological power: the perspective from frontier technologies By Antonin Bergeaud; Cyril Verluise
  2. The Anti-Corruption Campaign and the Inter-Generational Transmission of Working in Bureaucracy: Evidence from China By Chen, Shuai; Ge, Erqi
  3. Rural Poverty Reduction and Economic Transformation in China : A Decomposition Approach By Lugo,Maria Ana; Niu,Chiyu; Yemtsov,Ruslan G.
  4. Goodbye China: What Do Fewer Foreigners Mean for Multinationals and the Chinese Economy? By Bickenbach, Frank; Liu, Wan-Hsin
  5. Warlords, State Failures, and the Rise of Communism in China By Huang,Zhangkai; Miao,Meng; Shao,Yi; Xu,L. Colin
  6. Was the trade war justified? Solar PV innovation in Europe and the impact of the ‘China shock’ By Andres, Pia
  7. Trade-Policy Dynamics : Evidence from 60 Years of U.S.-China Trade By Alessandria,George; Khan,Shafaat Yar; Khederlarian,Armen; Ruhl,KimJ.; Steinberg,Joseph B.
  8. The Impact of FDI on Domestic Firm Innovation : Evidence from Foreign Investment Deregulation in China By Liu,Yan-000529044; Wang,Xuan
  9. The US-China Trade War and Global Reallocations By Fajgelbaum,Pablo David; Goldberg,Pinelopi Koujianou; Kennedy,Patrick; Khandelwal,Amit Kumar; Taglioni,Daria
  10. Does Foreign Direct Investment Catalyze Local Structural Transformation and Human CapitalAccumulation ? Evidence from China By Liu,Yan-000529044
  11. Trade Conflicts and Credit Supply Spillovers : Evidence From The Nobel Peace Prize Trade Shock By Cao, Jin; Dinger, Valeriya; Juelsrud, Ragnar E.; Liaudinskas, Karolis
  12. Does the Squeaky Wheel Get More Grease? The Direct and Indirect Effects of Citizen Participation on Environmental Governance in China By Mark Buntaine; Michael Greenstone; Guojun He; Mengdi Liu; Shaoda Wang; Bing Zhang
  13. Comparing China REACH and the Jamaica Home Visiting Program By Jin Zhou; James J. Heckman; Bei Liu; Mai Lu; Susan M. Chang; Sally Grantham-McGregor
  14. Cities in a Pandemic: Evidence from China By Badi H. Baltagi; Ying Deng; Jing Li; Zhenlin Yang
  15. Dealing with Taiwan By Hilpert, Hanns Günther (Ed.); Sakaki, Alexandra (Ed.); Wacker, Gudrun (Ed.)
  16. Hidden Defaults By Horn,Sebastian Andreas; Reinhart,Carmen M.; Trebesch,Christoph
  17. How realistic is Belt and Road Initiative for Kyrgyzstan and Central Asian Countries? By Akmoldoev, Kiyalbek
  18. The Power of Public Insurance With Limited Benefits: Evidence from China's New Cooperative Medical Scheme By Lin, Lin; Zai, Xianhua
  19. Where the EU stands vis-à-vis the USA and China? Corporate R&D intensity gap and structural change By MONCADA PATERNO' CASTELLO Pietro; GRASSANO Nicola
  20. Trade Liberalization and Labor-Market Outcomes: Evidence from US Matched Employer-Employee Data By Justin R. Pierce; Peter K. Schott; Cristina Tello-Trillo

  1. By: Antonin Bergeaud; Cyril Verluise
    Abstract: We use patent data to study the contribution of the US, Europe, China and Japan to frontier technology using automated patent landscaping. We find that China's contribution to frontier technology has become quantitatively similar to the US in the late 2010s while overcoming the European and Japanese contributions respectively. Although China still exhibits the stigmas of a catching up economy, these stigmas are on the downside. The quality of frontier technology patents published at the Chinese Patent Office has leveled up to the quality of patents published at the European and Japanese patent offices. At the same time, frontier technology patenting at the Chinese Patent Office seems to have been increasingly supported by domestic patentees, suggesting the build up of domestic capabilities.
    Keywords: frontier technologies, China, patent landscaping, machine learning, patents
    Date: 2022–10–14
  2. By: Chen, Shuai (LISER); Ge, Erqi (Sun Yat-Sen University)
    Abstract: There is a clear and persistent inequality of bureaucratic employment between individuals with a bureaucrat parent and those without. Using the recent anti-corruption campaign in China as a quasi-experiment, we investigate how endeavors for counter-corruption affect inequality and potential cronyism in bureaucratic employment through inter-generational transmission. First, we conduct a difference-in-differences analysis to compare changes in the probability of working in bureaucracy after the campaign came into effect in different provincial administrative divisions of mainland China, between individuals with a bureaucrat parent and those without. We find that before the campaign, bureaucrats' children were over 13 percentage points more likely to work in bureaucracy, and that positive selection on human capital can explain only 12–25 percent of this advantage of bureaucrats' children. However, after the campaign took effect, this premium significantly reduced by more than 5 percentage points. Moreover, we explore potential mechanisms through which anti-corruption efforts have diminished the inter-generational transmission of bureaucratic employment. We provide evidence that the campaign decreased the economic attractiveness of bureaucratic jobs, and that better outside options are more likely to explain the reduced inter-generational transmission. We do not find evidence supporting other two alternative channels: the insider information of bureaucrat parents on the campaign, or changes in perceptions of bureaucracy.
    Keywords: anti-corruption, bureaucracy, inter-generational transmission, inequality
    JEL: D73 H83 O12 P35 D63
    Date: 2022–09
  3. By: Lugo,Maria Ana; Niu,Chiyu; Yemtsov,Ruslan G.
    Abstract: Rural poverty in China fell from 96 percent in 1980 to less than 1 percent of the population in2019. Using PovcalNet data for China and a set of comparable countries, this paper estimates growth-poverty elasticities.It finds that China stands out for its record of sustained, fast growth, rather than because of an unusually highgrowth-poverty elasticity. In addition, changes in mean consumption, rather than changes in the distribution, drivepoverty reduction. Furthermore, until 2010, changes in inequality attenuated the impact of growth on poverty. Thepaper also studies which channels mattered the most for rural poverty reduction by applying a decompositionframework to multiple rounds of Chinese Household Income Project surveys conducted in 1988, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2013,and 2018. The findings show that broad-based, labor-intensive growth in agriculture was initially the maindriving force for rural poverty reduction, followed by the expansion of non-agriculture sectors. As the country’spoverty rate approached 10 percent by 2007, transfers from migrant workers and, later, public transfers became themajor drivers of further rural poverty reduction. Throughout the period, the fall in the demographic dependency rate alsoplayed a significant role. As China’s living standards continue to rise, the official definition of poverty willhave to adjust to the higher minimum. Continued structural transformation and the inclusive growth agenda retaincrucial importance for sustained poverty reduction.
    Date: 2021–11–15
  4. By: Bickenbach, Frank; Liu, Wan-Hsin
    Abstract: The number of foreigners living in China is very low in international comparison and has further declined recently. While the strict COVID-19-related travel restrictions played a major role in this decline, there are indications that the decline started in part before the pandemic and may well continue once the pandemic-related restrictions are lifted. Against this background, this article discusses the economic challenges that the reduction in the number of foreigners is causing for Western multinationals operating in China and to the Chinese economy more generally. The consequences could spill over to the world economy and reinforce economic and technological decoupling tendencies between China and the West.
    JEL: J61 F23
    Date: 2022
  5. By: Huang,Zhangkai; Miao,Meng; Shao,Yi; Xu,L. Colin
    Abstract: This paper documents that the spread of communism in China was partly caused by state failures in the early 20th century. It finds that famines became more frequent after China fell into warlord fragmentation, especially for prefectures with less rugged borders and those facing stronger military threat. The relation between topography and famines holds when using historical border changes to instrument border ruggedness. More people from famine-inflicted prefectures died in the subsequent decades for the communist movement, but not for the Nationalist Army. There is evidence that famines exacerbated rural inequality, which pushed more peasants to the side of the communists.
    Keywords: Conflict and Fragile States,Armed Conflict,Public Sector Administrative&Civil Service Reform,Democratic Government,De Facto Governments,Public Sector Administrative and CivilService Reform,Transport Services,Energy and Natural Resources,Coastal and Marine Resources
    Date: 2021–08–23
  6. By: Andres, Pia
    Abstract: Low cost solar energy is key to enabling the transition away from fossil fuels. Despite this, the European Union followed the United States’ example in imposing anti-dumping tariffs on solar panel imports from China in 2012, arguing that Chinese panels were unfairly subsidised and harmed its domestic industry. This paper examines the effects of Chinese import competition on firm-level innovation in solar photovoltaic technology by European firms using a sample of 4,632 firms in 14 EU countries over the period 1999- 2018. I show that firms which were exposed to higher import competition innovated more. Further, I find that during the years following the trade war, firms with a higher existing stock of innovation became less innovative. The results imply that competition from China constituted a positive push for more innovation among European solar innovators, calling into question the rationale behind the trade war.
    JEL: L81
    Date: 2022–10
  7. By: Alessandria,George; Khan,Shafaat Yar; Khederlarian,Armen; Ruhl,KimJ.; Steinberg,Joseph B.
    Abstract: This paper studies the growth of Chinese imports into the United States from autarky during 1950–1970 to about 15 percent of overall imports in 2008, taking advantage of the rich heterogeneity in trade policy and trade growth across products during this period. Central to the analysis is an accounting for the dynamics of trade, trade policy, and trade-policy expectations. The analysis isolates the lagged effects of past reforms and the current effects of uncertainty about future reforms. It builds a multi-industry, heterogeneous-firm model with a dynamic export participation decision to estimate a path of trade-policy expectations. The findings show that being granted Normal Trade Relations (NTR) status in 1980 was largely a surprise and that, in the early stages, this reform had a high probability of being reversed. The likelihood of reversal dropped considerably during the mid-1980s, and, despite China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, changed little throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s. Thus, although uncertainty depressed trade substantially following the 1980 liberalization, much of the trade growth that followed China’s WTO accession was a delayed response to previous reforms rather than a response to declining uncertainty.
    Keywords: International Trade and Trade Rules,Rules of Origin,Trade Policy,Trade and Multilateral Issues,World Trade Organization,Trade and Services
    Date: 2021–07–29
  8. By: Liu,Yan-000529044; Wang,Xuan
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of foreign direct investment on domestic firms’ innovation in China. It provides causal evidence by exploiting China’s foreign direct investment deregulation in 2002 and employs a difference-in-difference estimation strategy. Using a matched firm-patent data set from 1998 to 2007, the results show that the quantity and quality of domestic firms’ innovation benefit from foreign direct investment. Moreover, the paper emphasizes the importance of knowledge spillover from foreign direct investment in similar technology domains. The analysis examines the role of horizontal foreign direct investment and foreign direct investment in technologically close industries—industries that share similar technology domains. The findings show that foreign direct investment in technologically close industries generates much bigger positive spillovers than horizontal foreign direct investment. The paper also shows that knowledge spillover from foreign direct investment in similar technology domains is not driven by input-out linkages. Moreover, the spillover effect is stronger in cities with higher human capital stock and firms with higher absorptive capacity.
    Keywords: General Manufacturing,Textiles, Apparel&Leather Industry,Business Cycles and Stabilization Policies,Pulp&Paper Industry,Construction Industry,Plastics&Rubber Industry,Common Carriers Industry,Food&Beverage Industry,Intellectual Property Rights,Legal Products,Common Property Resource Development,Social Policy,Regulatory Regimes,Legal Reform,Judicial System Reform,Legislation,Real&Intellectual Property Law,Trade Law,Foreign Trade Promotion and Regulation,Investment and Investment Climate,International Trade and Trade Rules
    Date: 2021–05–24
  9. By: Fajgelbaum,Pablo David; Goldberg,Pinelopi Koujianou; Kennedy,Patrick; Khandelwal,Amit Kumar; Taglioni,Daria
    Abstract: This paper studies global trade responses to the US-China trade war. It estimates the tariffimpacts on product-level exports to the US, China, and rest of world. On average, countries decreased exports to Chinaand increased exports to the US and rest of world. Most countries export products that complement the US andsubstitute China, and a subset operate along downward-sloping supplies. Heterogeneity in responses,rather than specialization, drives export variation across countries. Surprisingly, global trade increased in theproducts targeted by tariffs. Thus, despite ending the trend towards tariff reductions, the trade war did not halt globaltrade growth.
    Keywords: International Trade and Trade Rules,Armed Conflict,Transport Services,Food Security,Energy and Mining
    Date: 2022–01–06
  10. By: Liu,Yan-000529044
    Abstract: This paper examines the effect of foreign direct investment on local structural transformationand human capital accumulation in China, exploiting variations in foreign direct investment inflows acrossmanufacturing sub-sectors caused by China’s foreign direct investment deregulation and initial sectoral compositionpatterns across China’s cities and provinces. Using a panel of city-level data from 1990 to 2005, the paper shows thatmanufacturing foreign direct investment inflows greatly accelerated city-level structural transformation and humancapital accumulation. By expanding access to the globalmarket, foreign direct investment created a huge pull factor that drew excess labor away from farms into factories andservices. Foreign direct investment has promoted high school and university enrollment by paying a higher wage premiumfor skilled workers and pushing up the skill premium. The positive effect on structural transformation is largelydriven by export-oriented foreign direct investment, while market-seeking foreign direct investment has a much largereffect on college enrollment. High-skill foreign direct investment has a larger effect on college enrollment thanlow-skill foreign direct investment.
    Keywords: Food & Beverage Industry,Plastics & Rubber Industry,Business Cycles and Stabilization Policies,Textiles, Apparel & Leather Industry,Pulp & Paper Industry,Common Carriers Industry,Construction Industry,General Manufacturing,International Trade and Trade Rules,Investment and Investment Climate,Skills Development and Labor Force Training,Food Security
    Date: 2022–03–03
  11. By: Cao, Jin; Dinger, Valeriya; Juelsrud, Ragnar E.; Liaudinskas, Karolis
    Abstract: In this paper, we examine how a trade conflict’s impact on the real economy can be amplified by financial intermediaries. After the Norwegian Nobel Peace Prize Committee awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, China in practice banned imports of Norwegian salmon. The ban was an unexpected trade shock to the Norwegian salmon industry. Using bank balance sheet and credit register data, we trace how this trade shock affected the lending behavior of banks highly exposed to the salmon industry when the shock occurred. We find that, in the years following the trade shock, highly exposed banks cut back lending to non-salmon firms and households by 3-6 percent more than other banks. Furthermore, we find that the reduction in lending was not driven by the erosion of bank capital, but rather by the shift in expectations about the performance of loans to salmon producers, which drove highly exposed banks to increase their loan loss provisions and reduce risk-taking.
    JEL: F14 G21
    Date: 2022–10–21
  12. By: Mark Buntaine; Michael Greenstone; Guojun He; Mengdi Liu; Shaoda Wang; Bing Zhang
    Abstract: We conducted a nationwide field experiment in China to evaluate the direct and indirect impacts of assigning firms to public or private citizen appeals treatments when they violate pollution standards. There are three main findings. First, public appeals to the regulator through social media substantially reduce violations and pollution emissions, while private appeals cause more modest environmental improvements. Second, experimentally adding “likes” and “shares” to social media appeals increases regulatory effort, suggesting visibility as an important mechanism. Third, treatment pollution reductions are not offset by control firm increases, based on randomly varying the proportion of treatment firms at the prefecture-level.
    JEL: K32 P28 Q52
    Date: 2022–10
  13. By: Jin Zhou; James J. Heckman; Bei Liu; Mai Lu; Susan M. Chang; Sally Grantham-McGregor
    Abstract: This paper summarizes empirical findings from a series of recent papers studying a replication of the Jamaica Reach Up and Learn home visiting program in China, China REACH. It collects more detailed information than is available on the original program. An analysis of it facilitates investigation of the skills generated by Jamaica Reach Up and Learn. We find evidence for dynamic complementarity for medium- and low-ability children. Children who start behind only slowly catch up. Able children are an exception. Most children master its goals for skill development, but the pace of learning varies greatly among children classified by ability. The program scales well. Costs per pupil are roughly $500 (2015 USD). At the same ages, treatment effect sizes and skill growth curves are comparable across the Jamaica and China REACH interventions, despite differences in scale and differences in cultural settings. We develop a method for comparing scores on different tests by anchoring comparisons on common items.
    JEL: J13
    Date: 2022–10
  14. By: Badi H. Baltagi (Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 426 Eggers Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244); Ying Deng (School of International Trade and Economics, University of International Business and Economics, No. 10 Huixin East Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029, China); Jing Li (School of Economics, Singapore Management University, 90 Stamford Road, Singapore 178903); Zhenlin Yang (School of Economics, Singapore Management University, 90 Stamford Road, Singapore 178903)
    Abstract: This paper studies the impact of urban density, city government efficiency, and medical resources on COVID-19 infection and death outcomes in China. We adopt a simultaneous spatial dynamic panel data model to account for (i) the simultaneity of infection and death outcomes, (ii) the spatial pattern of the transmission, (iii) the inter-temporal dynamics of the disease, and (iv) the unobserved city- and time-specific effects. We find that, while population density increases the level of infections, government efficiency significantly mitigates the negative impact of urban density. We also find that the availability of medical resources improves public health outcomes conditional on lagged infections. Moreover, there exists significant heterogeneity at different phases of the epidemiological cycle.
    Keywords: COVID-19, Urban Density, Government Efficiency Cities
    JEL: R1 R5 I18
    Date: 2022–10
  15. By: Hilpert, Hanns Günther (Ed.); Sakaki, Alexandra (Ed.); Wacker, Gudrun (Ed.)
    Abstract: The de facto politically independent Taiwan is coming under increasing pressure from the People's Republic of China (PRC) and its claim to reunification. In addition to militarily threatening gestures, Beijing is employing economic and political means as well as cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns. This threatens the stability and status quo in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is of immense importance to East Asia's geopolitical dynamics: geo-strategically as part of the first island chain that restricts the PRC's access to the Pacific, and economically-technologically as a leading manufacturer of semiconductors. In the global systemic conflict between liberal-democratic and authoritarian political systems, Taiwan holds a prominent position as a consolidated, pluralistic democracy and political counter-model to the authoritarian system of the PRC. It is in the interest of Germany and Europe that peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are preserved, to make better use of Taiwan's economic and technological potential and to extend value-based support for its free and democratic society. Germany is committed to a one-China policy, which rules out any diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. Nevertheless, there is scope to expand and intensify relations below this threshold and thus counter China's policy of intimidating and isolating Taiwan. The Taiwan policies of the United States, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Australia, India as well as European partner countries show that there is room for pursuing closer relations with Taiwan while at the same time adhering to a one-China policy. Thus, options for action exist in foreign and security policy, trade and economic policy, as well as cultural policy.
    Keywords: Taiwan Strait,China,United States,Japan,Singapore,South Korea,Australia,India,East Asia,geopolitical dynamics,cyberattacks,one-China policy
    Date: 2022
  16. By: Horn,Sebastian Andreas; Reinhart,Carmen M.; Trebesch,Christoph
    Abstract: China’s lending boom to developing countries is morphing into defaults and debt distress. Giventhe secrecy surrounding China’s loans, also the associated defaults remain “hidden”, as missed payments andrestructuring details are not disclosed. This paper constructs an encompassing dataset of sovereign debtrestructurings with Chinese lenders and finds that these credit events are surprisingly frequent, exceeding thenumber of sovereign bond or Paris Club restructurings.Chinese lenders follow a resolution approach reminiscent of 1980s Western lenders; they seldom provide deep debt reliefwith face value reduction. If history is any guide, multi-year debt workouts with serial restructurings lie in store.
    Keywords: External Debt,Debt Relief and HIPC,Debt Markets,Financial Sector Policy
    Date: 2022–02–04
  17. By: Akmoldoev, Kiyalbek
    Abstract: Due to the geographical location of the Central Asian countries and Kyrgyzstan, which do not have direct access to the sea, there is a dependence on the transport route via Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus to trade goods with the European market. The Chinese BRI project would offer an alternative for Central Asian countries to connect economically with European, Middle Eastern and West Asian countries. However, turning away from Russia and toward China holds potential for conflict. Therefore, the main objective of this article is to analyze the BRI projects in Central Asia and predict how realistic it is to implement them without the "permission" of the Russian Federation. In doing so, it takes a closer look at the strategic interest for China in Central Asia and how the BRI project in Kyrgyzstan is performing. The SWOT analysis points to a win-win situation, which, however, comes with a warning to be cautious. Particular attention should be paid to financial dependence on China, which could be due to a debt trap.
    Keywords: Belt and Road Initiative,Kyrgyzstan,Geopolitics,Debt-Trap,Silk Road Route
    Date: 2022
  18. By: Lin, Lin; Zai, Xianhua
    Abstract: Low-income people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have limited access to healthcare when they are sick. To address this issue, the governments of LMICs have initiated health insurance programs that target these poor populations. However, the health benefits these programs provide are often limited due to resource constraints in LMICs. In this paper, we study the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS), a limited coverage insurance program for rural residents in China, to explore its effectiveness, and the mechanisms that contribute to its successes, if any. In a plausibly random design, we exploit the variation in provincial NCMS enrollment rate 2004-2011 to identify its average treatment effect. We find that although the NCMS' coverage is limited, its effect on inpatient care use increases significantly. This increase is mainly driven by inpatient care delivered by primary care providers, which has the most generous reimbursement rates. In addition, we show that half of the increase in inpatient care use is attributable to the NCMS' healthcare investment in rural providers. For outpatient services, while the total effect is not statistically significant, we find that the utilization pattern across providers is consistent with the differential payment design of the NCMS: rural residents use more outpatient care provided by primary care institutions where they can get higher reimbursement rates. In addition, we show evidence that rural residents substitute outpatient services in hospitals for that in township health centers. Lastly, results on health expenditure and health outcomes indicate that the introduction of the NCMS does not affect out-of-pocket medical expense or all-cause mortality rates among rural residents, but it does reduce mortality for specific diseases such as AIDS and infectious disease.
    Keywords: Healthcare Utilization,NCMS,Health Insurance,Poor Populations
    JEL: H51 I12 I13 I18
    Date: 2022
  19. By: MONCADA PATERNO' CASTELLO Pietro (European Commission - JRC); GRASSANO Nicola (European Commission - JRC)
    Abstract: This Brief explores the longstanding deficit in the EU’s overall corporate R&D intensity compared with that of competing economies over the last decade. The main results indicate the following: The EU business sector is still leading in traditional medium-tech sectors, such as automobiles and parts. As for the US and China, they are much stronger in newer high-tech sectors, and have maintained and even increased their strength in the last decade. For the EU, this causes a lower overall share of net sales and of R&D investment in sectors of high R&D intensity, compared with the full sample (all sectors). Consequently, there is a lower impact on the aggregate (all sectors) result for EU R&D intensity. The EU has a small number of global players in key sectors of high R&D intensity, such as biotechnology and ICT. The sample of top EU R&D investing companies is ahead in the production of green patents related to climate change technologies, as compared with the US and China. Tailored policies should also foster the speed of structural (sectoral) change towards sectors that are more R&D intensive, including some emerging ones, for example artificial intelligence and renewable energies. This will help the creation and growth of more firms in such sectors.
    Keywords: EU vs China vs USA, Corporate R&D intensity gap, structural change
    Date: 2022–09
  20. By: Justin R. Pierce; Peter K. Schott; Cristina Tello-Trillo
    Abstract: We use matched employer-employee data to examine outcomes among workers initially employed within and outside manufacturing after trade liberalization with China. We find that exposure to this shock operates predominantly through workers' counties (versus industries), that larger own industry and downstream exposure typically reduce relative earnings, and that greater upstream exposure often raises them. The latter is particularly important outside manufacturing: while we find substantial and persistent predicted declines in relative earnings among manufacturing workers, those outside manufacturing are generally predicted to experience relative earnings gains. Investigation of employment reactions indicates they account for a small share of the earnings effect.
    Date: 2022–09

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