nep-cna New Economics Papers
on China
Issue of 2023‒08‒14
four papers chosen by
Zheng Fang, Ohio State University

  1. The Largest Insurance Expansion in History: Saving One Million Lives Per Year in China By Jonathan Gruber; Mengyun Lin; Junjian Yi
  2. China’s Carbon Emissions After the Pandemic By Khalid Ahmed; David I. Stern
  3. The Changing Economics of China’s Electricity System: Why Renewables and Electricity Storage may be a Lower Cost Way to Meet Demand Growth than Coal By Kahrl , Fritz; Lin, Jiang
  4. Impact of E-commerce Development on Income Inequality: Evidence from rural China based on cross-county panel data By MA Xinxin; KOMATSU Sho

  1. By: Jonathan Gruber; Mengyun Lin; Junjian Yi
    Abstract: The New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) rolled out in China from 2003-2008 provided insurance to 800 million rural Chinese. We combine aggregate mortality data with individual survey data, and identify the impact of the NCMS from program rollout and heterogeneity across areas in their rural share. We find that there was a significant decline in aggregate mortality, with the program saving more than one million lives per year at its peak, and explaining 78% of the entire increase in life expectancy in China over this period. We confirm these mortality effects using micro-data on mortality, other health outcomes, and utilization.
    JEL: H4 I13
    Date: 2023–07
  2. By: Khalid Ahmed (Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University); David I. Stern (Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University)
    Abstract: Is China on a path to peak its greenhouse gas emissions in the near future? We compare trends in carbon emissions and energy production in the first five months of 2019 to the first five months of 2023. Emissions grew substantially, especially from the energy sector. Though renewable energy production has increased substantially, coal production is growing more strongly than before the pandemic. The changing geopolitical environment may further impede the peaking of emissions in China.
    Date: 2023–02
  3. By: Kahrl , Fritz; Lin, Jiang
    Abstract: Concerns around reliability in China’s electricity sector have rekindled interest in a traditional solution: building more coal-fired generation. However, over the past decade China’s electricity sector has seen significant changes in supply costs, demand patterns, and regulation and markets over the past decade, with falling costs for renewable and storage generation, “peakier” demand, and the creation of initial wholesale markets. These changes suggest that traditional approaches to evaluating the economics of different supply options may be outdated. This paper illustrates how a net capacity cost metric – fixed costs minus net market revenues – might be better suited to evaluating supply options in China. Using a simplified example with recent resource cost data, the paper illustrates how, with a net capacity cost metric, solar PV and electricity storage may be a more cost-effective option for meeting demand growth than coal-fired generation.
    Keywords: Social and Behavioral Sciences, peak demand, economics of electricity generation, China, coal power
    Date: 2023–07–01
  4. By: MA Xinxin; KOMATSU Sho
    Abstract: Information and communications technology (ICT) is rapidly developing worldwide. Some studies argue that ICT increases income inequality in developed countries; however, evidence on the relationship between progress in ICT and income inequality in developing countries is scarce. Using an original cross-county panel data from 2011 to 2018, we investigated the impact of e-commerce development on income inequality in rural China while considering endogeneity issues. We found that the effect of e-commerce on income inequality differed by region: e-commerce development could expand income inequality in developed counties, while reducing it in less-developed ones; the total effect of e-commerce on the income inequality was insignificant. Additionally, this effect was greater in counties with a higher level of agricultural modernization. Furthermore, the decomposition results indicated that differences in e-commerce accessibility and income return of e-commerce usage contributed to widening the income inequality between developed and less-developed rural counties.
    Date: 2023–06

This nep-cna issue is ©2023 by Zheng Fang. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.