nep-cna New Economics Papers
on China
Issue of 2023‒06‒19
seventeen papers chosen by
Zheng Fang
Ohio State University

  1. Regional Variation of GDP per head within China, 1080-1850: Implications for the Great Divergence Debate By Stephen Broadberry; Hanhui Guan
  2. The Effects of FDI Liberalization on Structural Transformation and Demographic Change: Evidence from China By Erten, Bilge; Leight, Jessica; Zhu, Lianming
  3. How genuine are sub-replacement ideal family sizes in urban China? By Chen, Shuang; Gietel-Basten, Stuart
  4. BigTech credit and monetary policy transmission: Micro-level evidence from China By Huang, Yiping; Li, Xiang; Qiu, Han; Yu, Changhua
  5. Hukou and Guanxi: How Social Discrimination and Networks Impact Intrahousehold Allocations in China By Liqun Zhuge; Kevin Lang
  6. Temperature and Low-stakes Cognitive Performance By Zhang, Xin; Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
  7. Margin trading and leverage management By Bian, Jiangze; Da, Zhi; He, Zhiguo; Lou, Dong; Shue, Kelly; Zhou, Hao
  8. What Do Parents Want? Parental Spousal Preferences in China By Eva Raiber; Weiwei Ren; Jeanne Bovet; Paul Seabright; Charlotte Wang
  9. The Rise of E-Wallets and Buy-Now-Pay-Later: Payment Competition, Credit Expansion, and Consumer Behavior By Wenlong Bian; Lin William Cong; Yang Ji
  10. Do Women Receive Worse Financial Advice? An Audit Study in Hong Kong, China By Bhattacharya, Utpal; Kumar, Amit; Visaria, Sujata; Zhao, Jing
  11. Acquiring Innovation - Do Chinese acquisitions in developed countries spur innovation at home? By Mariana Spatareanu
  12. Has China's Growth Gone from Miracle to Malady? By Prasad, Eswar
  13. The Impact of Chinese Rice Support Policies on Rice Acreages By Jin, Yan; Gardebroek, Cornelis; Heerink, Nico
  14. Spatially Coordinated Conservation Auctions: A Framed Field Experiment Focusing on Farmland Wildlife Conservation in China By Liu, Zhaoyang; Banerjee, Simanti; Cason, Timothy N.; Hanley, Nick; Liu, Qi; Xu, Jintao; Kontoleon, Andreas
  15. United States and China on a collision course: The importance of domestic politics for the bilateral relationship By Maull, Hanns W.; Stanzel, Angela; Thimm, Johannes
  16. Adoption of Multiple Soil Fertility Management Practices and Its Impact on Farm Performance in Rural China By Kang, Shijia
  17. E-commerce improves dietary quality of rural households in China By Shen, Jiexi; Zhu, Zhanguo; Qaim, Matin; Fan, Shenggen; Tian, Xu

  1. By: Stephen Broadberry; Hanhui Guan
    Abstract: We examine regional variation in Chinese GDP per head for five benchmark years from the Song dynasty to the Qing. For the Ming and Qing dynasties, we provide a breakdown of regional GDP per head across seven macro regions, establishing that East Central China was the richest macro region. In addition, we provide data on the Yangzi Delta, the core of East Central China, widely seen as the richest part of China since 1400. Yangzi Delta GDP per head was 64 to 67 per cent higher than in China as a whole for three of the four Ming and Qing benchmarks, and 52 per cent higher during the late Ming. For the Northern Song dynasty, although it is not possible to derive a full regional breakdown, we provide data for Kaifeng Fu, the region containing the capital city. GDP per head in Kaifeng Fu was more than twice the level of China as a whole. Combined with aggregate data for GDP per head, these estimates suggest that China was the leading economy in the world during the Song dynasty and that the Great Divergence began around 1700 as the leading region of China fell decisively behind the leading region of Europe.
    Keywords: Great Divergence, China, regional variation, GDP per head
    Date: 2022–06–28
  2. By: Erten, Bilge (Northeastern University); Leight, Jessica (International Food Policy Research Institute); Zhu, Lianming (Osaka University)
    Abstract: How does foreign direct investment (FDI) liberalization shape structural transformation and demographic change in developing countries? We provide new evidence on this question using five waves of Chinese census data between 1990 and 2015, exploiting quasi-exogenous variation in FDI liberalization induced by multiple waves of regulatory relaxation. We find that counties more exposed to liberalization experience a relative shift out of agricultural employment into manufacturing and services for both men and women. Exposure to FDI liberalization also reduces the probability of marriage, and induces a decline in the birth rate and the share of women with children.
    Keywords: foreign direct investment, structural transformation, demographic change, China
    JEL: F23 F63 J13
    Date: 2023–04
  3. By: Chen, Shuang; Gietel-Basten, Stuart
    Abstract: Ideal family sizes remain at or above two in most low-fertility settings, but sub-replacement fertility ideals have been reported for urban China. The presence of restrictive family planning policies has led to a debate as to whether such ideals are genuine. This study exploits the ending of the one-child policy and the beginning of a universal two-child policy in October 2015 to investigate whether relaxing the restrictions led to an increase in ideal family size. We apply difference-in-differences and individual-level fixed-effect models to longitudinal data from a near-nationwide survey. For married individuals aged 20–39, relaxing the restrictions from one to two children increased the mean ideal family size by around 0.2 and the proportion who desired two or more children by around 19 percentage points. Findings suggest that although reported ideal family sizes have been reduced by policy restrictions, sub-replacement ideal family sizes in urban China appear to be genuine.
    Keywords: Asia; China; family planning; fertility; fertility desire; fertility preferences; ideal family size; low fertility; one-child policy; population; P2CHD047879; T32HD007163; T&F deal
    JEL: J1
    Date: 2023–04–06
  4. By: Huang, Yiping; Li, Xiang; Qiu, Han; Yu, Changhua
    Abstract: This paper studies monetary policy transmission through BigTech and traditional banks. By comparing business loans made by a BigTech bank with those made by traditional banks, it finds that BigTech credit amplifies monetary policy transmission mainly through the extensive margin. Specifically, the BigTech bank is more likely to grant credit to new borrowers compared with conventional banks in response to expansionary monetary policy. The BigTech bank's advantages in information, monitoring, and risk management are the potential mechanisms. In addition, monetary policy has a stronger impact on the real economy through BigTech lending.
    Keywords: Financial Technology, Bank Lending, Monetary Policy Transmission
    JEL: E52 G21 G23
    Date: 2023
  5. By: Liqun Zhuge; Kevin Lang
    Abstract: Hukou, China’s household registration system, affects access to public services and signals the strength of a person’s local social network, guanxi. We use a collective model and data on household consumption and spouses’ hukou status to show that hukou plays a crucial role in determining within-family bargaining power. Wives who bring the family more lucrative hukou enjoy significantly higher bargaining power than other wives. Still, these wives have less bargaining power than their husbands. Large differences in preferences between husbands and wives, especially regarding alcohol, tobacco, and clothing, allow us to identify these disparities.
    JEL: J10 J12 J16
    Date: 2023–05
  6. By: Zhang, Xin; Chen, Xi; Zhang, Xiaobo
    Abstract: This paper offers one of the first evidence in a developing country context that transitory exposure to high temperatures may disrupt low-stakes cognitive activities across a range of age cohorts. By matching eight years of repeated cognitive tests among all the participants in a nationally representative longitudinal survey in China with weather data according to the exact time and geographic location of their assessment, we show that exposure to a temperature above 32 °C on the test date, relative to a moderate day within 22-24 °C, leads to a sizable decline in their math scores by 0.066 standard deviations (equivalent to 0.23 years of education). Further, the effect on the math test scores is more salient for individuals who are older or less educated.
    Keywords: cognitive performance, high temperatures, adaptation, age gradients
    JEL: I24 Q54 Q51
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Bian, Jiangze; Da, Zhi; He, Zhiguo; Lou, Dong; Shue, Kelly; Zhou, Hao
    Abstract: We use granular data covering regulated (brokerage-financed) and unregulated (shadow-financed) margin trading during the 2015 market turmoil in China to provide the first systematic analysis of margin investors' characteristics, leverage management policies, and liquidation choices. We show that leverage constraints induced substantial forced and preemptive sales, and leverage and cash management differed substantially across investor and account types. We explore the relation between margin trading and shock propagation, and show that China's price limit rule led to unintended contagion across stocks. Compared to brokerage investors, shadow investors were closer to their leverage constraints, and played a more significant role in transmitting shocks across stocks.
    Keywords: margin trading; leverage management; liquidation policy; contagion
    JEL: G00 G12
    Date: 2021–07–14
  8. By: Eva Raiber (AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Weiwei Ren (Yunnan Normal University); Jeanne Bovet (University of Northumbria at Newcastle [United Kingdom]); Paul Seabright (TSE-R - Toulouse School of Economics - UT Capitole - Université Toulouse Capitole - UT - Université de Toulouse - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, IAST - Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse); Charlotte Wang (IPAG Business School)
    Abstract: In many societies, parents are involved in selecting a spouse for their child, integrating this with decisions about premarital investment such as education. Do spousal preferences of parents and children conflict? We estimate parents' spousal preferences based on survey choices between random profiles, elicited from parents or other relatives who actively search for a spouse on behalf of their adult child in Kunming, China. We simulate marriage outcomes based on preferences for age and education and compare them with patterns in the general population and with the preferences of a survey of students. The common concern that there may be aversion to highly educated or high-earning wives is somewhat corroborated in parents' preferences but not in students' preferences, nor in outcomes, where homogamy is common and wives who are more educated than husbands are as common as husbands who are more educated than wives. Parents prefer wives younger than their husbands, yet most couples are the same age, an outcome consistent with student preferences. Overall, divergences between parental and child preferences exist but are neither major nor very influential in explaining observed outcomes. Fears that highly educated women face diminished marriage prospects appear less serious than often claimed.
    Keywords: Marriage, Preference estimation, China, Parental matchmaking, Matching
    Date: 2023–04
  9. By: Wenlong Bian; Lin William Cong; Yang Ji
    Abstract: The past decade has witnessed a phenomenal rise of digital wallets, and the COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated their adoption globally. Such e-wallets provide not only a conduit to external bank accounts but also internal payment options, including the ever-popular Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL). We examine, for the first time, e-wallet transactions matched with merchant and consumer information from a world-leading provider based in China, with over 1 billion users globally and a business model that other e-wallet providers quickly converge to. We document that internal payment options, especially BNPL, dominate both online and on-site transactions. BNPL has greatly expanded credit access on the extensive margin through its adoption in two-sided payment markets. While BNPL crowds out other e-wallet payment options, it expands FinTech credit to underserved consumers. Exploiting a randomized experiment, we also find that e-wallet credit through BNPL substantially boosts consumer spending. Nevertheless, users, especially those relying on e-wallets as their sole credit source, carefully moderate borrowing when incurring interest charges. The insights likely prove informative for economies transitioning from cash-heavy to cashless societies where digital payments and FinTech credit see the largest growth and market potential.
    JEL: E42 G20 G23 G51
    Date: 2023–05
  10. By: Bhattacharya, Utpal (Department of Finance, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Kumar, Amit (Department of Finance, Singapore Management University); Visaria, Sujata (Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology); Zhao, Jing (Hong Kong Polytechnic University)
    Abstract: We arranged for trained undercover men and women to pose as potential clients and visit all 65 local financial advisory firms in Hong Kong, China. At financial planning firms, but not at securities firms, women were more likely than men to receive advice to buy only individual or only local securities. Female clients who signaled that they were highly confident, highly risk tolerant, or had a domestic outlook, were especially likely to receive suboptimal advice. Our theoretical model explains these patterns as the result of statistical discrimination interacting with advisors’ incentives. Taste-based discrimination is unlikely to explain the results.
    Keywords: audit study; gender; financial advice; securities firm; financial planner; risk tolerance; confidence; geographic outlook
    JEL: D14 D91 G11 G24 G41
    Date: 2023–06–01
  11. By: Mariana Spatareanu
    Abstract: Chinese multinationals’ acquisitions of Western firms have increased dramatically in recent years. However, relatively little is known about the effects of these acquisitions on the acquirers’ innovation. Using Chinese acquisitions in Western countries during 2000-2017 and applying matching and difference in difference methods we find that Chinese acquirers innovate more after acquisitions. Their patenting activity significantly picks up after the acquisitions of high-tech firms in developed countries. The results give support to the widespread view that Chinese companies are acquiring foreign technologies through acquisitions; they also show that Chinese companies successfully transfer and incorporate the newly acquired technologies at home, especially if the parent company was an innovator before the acquisition. The results also show that the degree of product complexity of the target firms matters and increases the innovation activity of Chinese acquirers.
    Keywords: M&As, emerging markets MNEs, innovation
    JEL: F23 O31
    Date: 2023–02
  12. By: Prasad, Eswar (Cornell University)
    Abstract: China's remarkable run of persistently high growth in recent decades is all the more stunning in light of the country's low levels of financial and institutional development, state-dominated economy, and nondemocratic government. Notwithstanding the inefficient and risky growth model, the government has maneuvered the economy around various stresses without any major financial or economic crash. With a shrinking labor force and declining efficiency of investment, raising productivity growth is key to maintaining reasonable GDP growth. Unbalanced reforms, a schizophrenic approach to the role of the market versus the state, and strains in financial and property markets could result in significant volatility but a financial or economic collapse is not in the cards.
    Keywords: growth rebalancing, sectoral reallocation, demographics, productivity growth, financial risks
    JEL: F2 F3 F4
    Date: 2023–05
  13. By: Jin, Yan; Gardebroek, Cornelis; Heerink, Nico
    Abstract: Declining arable land and yield stagnation challenge food security in China. Since 2004, the Chinese government has introduced a bundle of subsidies and income support measures to stimulate production and increase national food security, including a minimum procurement price in the main rice-cultivating regions. Rice acreages have increased since 2004, but this could also be due to rising rice price levels nationally and globally. This raises the question whether the rice support policies were effective. Using a natural experiment created by the minimum procurement price policy being introduced in selected regions, we use a dynamic fixed effects model to perform a difference-in-differences analysis on the effectiveness of these rice support policies. We find that indica rice acreages respond to changes in the rice prices, and, controlling for rice prices, that China’s rice support policies were effective in increasing rice acreages of both early and late indica between 2004 and 2017.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Security and Poverty
    Date: 2023–03
  14. By: Liu, Zhaoyang; Banerjee, Simanti; Cason, Timothy N.; Hanley, Nick; Liu, Qi; Xu, Jintao; Kontoleon, Andreas
    Abstract: This paper presents a framed field experiment from China studying a spatially coordinated (SC) auction mechanism for the allocation of agri-environmental contracts, which pay farmers to change their agricultural practices to provide environmental benefits. The SC auction is designed to maximise a metric of environmental benefit that depends both on site-specific environmental values and benefits due to spatial coordination of conserved patches, subject to a budget constraint. We investigate whether auction performance can be improved by the introduction of agglomeration bonus (AB) and joint bidding (JB) mechanisms. The AB is a bonus payment awarded to neighbouring farmers who bid individually but receive agrienvironmental contracts simultaneously. The JB mechanism allows neighbouring farmers to bid jointly and provides a bonus payment for successful joint bids. We conducted experimental SC auctions with a total of 432 Chinese farmers randomly assigned to one of four treatments which differed in whether the AB and JB mechanisms were adopted, following a two-by-two full factorial experimental design. Our empirical results suggest that the SC auction has similar environmental performance regardless of whether an AB is provided, although cost-effectiveness is 1 slightly higher when AB is not provided. Moreover, introducing the JB mechanism into the SC auction leads to lower environmental performance and lower cost-effectiveness. Finally, the AB mechanism achieves higher environmental performance than the JB mechanism but has similar cost-effectiveness.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy, Land Economics/Use
    Date: 2023–03
  15. By: Maull, Hanns W.; Stanzel, Angela; Thimm, Johannes
    Abstract: No other bilateral relationship has comparable significance for the future of the international order as that between the United States and the People's Republic of China.Domestic political and social structural factors have a significant influence on the conflict behaviour of the two states. These factors are contributing towards the deterioration of the bilateral relationship and making it crisis-prone. Vulnerabilities arise from the interdependencies between the two societies and economies. An awareness of this fact can provide an incentive for cooperation. Efforts made to avoid the risk of escalation can also promote cooperation. Both states are dependent on a functioning international order. However, this insight is all too easily overshadowed by the conflictual aspects of the bilateral relationship. This is the task - and at the same time an opportunity - for German and European policy, which should strengthen European participation in world governance to gain more weight and exert a moderating influence on China and America.
    Keywords: US, China, Russia, Ukraine war, Xi Jinping, Joe Biden, bilateral relationship, international order, Covid pandemic, CHIPS and Science Act, competition, industry, economic espionage, research and development, semiconductors
    Date: 2023
  16. By: Kang, Shijia
    Abstract: The adoption of soil fertility management practices (SFMPs) has become an important issue in the development economies, especially as a way to tackle land degradation, erosion, and low agricultural productivity. This study analyses the factors that facilitate or impede the probability and extent of adoption of multiple SFMPs as well as the performance effects, using farm survey data of 773 vegetable producers in rural China. Multivariate and ordered probit models are applied to the modeling of adoption decisions by farm households facing multiple SFMPs, which can be adopted in various combinations. A multinominal endogenous switching regression model is used to investigate the impact of SFMP adoption on farm productivity. The results show that: (1) the adoption of straw returning and advanced irrigation have substitution effect, and subsoiling practice is significantly correlated to straw returning and soil testing; (2) both the probability and the extent of adoption of SFMPs are influenced by many factors: household’s education, cadre membership, cooperative and training participation, social capital and individual awareness; (3) farms’ productivity is increasing with the intensive adoption of SFMPs. These results imply that policymakers should seek to promote local institutions and training providers, increase household education and awareness, and strengthen social networks in order to improve the adoption of SFMPs.
    Keywords: Land Economics/Use, Farm Management
    Date: 2023–03
  17. By: Shen, Jiexi; Zhu, Zhanguo; Qaim, Matin; Fan, Shenggen; Tian, Xu
    Abstract: E-commerce is gaining importance in the food sector of many countries, and its potential influence on people’s access to food and dietary choices is yet to be thoroughly investigated. In this study, we analyze data from a food consumption survey conducted in rural China in 2021 to examine the impact of e-commerce on individual food consumption patterns and dietary quality. Our results with instrumental variable models show that e-commerce significantly reduces the consumption of staple foods, such as cereals and potatoes, while it increases the consumption of legumes, nuts, milk, and milk products, even after controlling for income and other confounding factors. Additionally, e-commerce contributes to higher dietary diversity and dietary quality among rural households. In the face of shrinking physical markets in rural areas, it seems that rural e-commerce can serve as an important mechanism to improve food access and meet the diversifying dietary demands of rural residents.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety
    Date: 2023–06–04

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