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Frontiers of Economics in China

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, Volume 13 Issue 2 Previous Issue   
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Orginal Article
Rethinking Globalization in the Trump Era: US-China Relations
Joseph E. Stiglitz
Front. Econ. China. 2018, 13 (2): 133-146.
Abstract   PDF (272KB)

The global economic and political order that was created in the aftermath of World War II is under attack by President Donald Trump. In this article, Nobel Prize Laureate Joseph Stiglitz discusses the scope for protectionist actions by President Trump and suggests how countries such as China could and should respond. In particular, he proposes a set of ten principles that should guide China’s response, principles designed to enhance a more stable and efficient multi-polar system of global governance that can contribute to a stronger global economy.

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Conquering China’s Unbalanced and Inadequate Development: Macroeconomic Outlook, Policy Simulations, and Reform Implementation—A Summary of Annual SUFE Macroeconomic Report (2017–2018)
Kevin X. D. Huang, Lei Ning, Guoqiang Tian
Front. Econ. China. 2018, 13 (2): 147-170.
Abstract   PDF (5025KB)

Leaving year 2017 China’s macroeconomy is continuously characterized by unbalanced and inadequate development. Whereas some aggregate indicators have shown improvement over the year, the cumulative growth rates in consumption and fixed asset investment have continued their downward trajectories. Worsening income inequality and resource misallocations, both between secondary and tertiary industries, and within the latter, pose serious challenges, let alone the systemic risk associated with the flourishing shadow banking system, rapid credit growth and debt overhang that weigh on the Chinese economy like the Sword of Damocles. This summary report highlights both the status quo and the consequences of the unbalanced and inadequate development embodied in China’s persistently distorted economic structure, and the role of deepening reforms of the institutions and governance in resolving the problems. Our analyses based on IAR-CMM model provide a unified framework for addressing China’s short-, medium-, and long-term issues in an internally coherent manner. Looking into year 2018, our benchmark projection of real GDP growth rate is 6.7% (6.41% using more reliable rather than the official data). Alternative scenario analyses and policy simulations are conducted to reflect various aspects of the economic challenges in the short to long runs. Through the lens of these analyses we conclude that rule-of-law based and market-oriented structural reforms should continue to hold a center stage in China’s transition from a phase of high-speed but unbalanced growth, to a stage of balanced and adequate high-quality development.

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The Effects of Macroeconomic Policies in a Mercantilist Economy
Gaowang Wang, Heng-fu Zou
Front. Econ. China. 2018, 13 (2): 171-195.
Abstract   PDF (365KB)

By introducing money and foreign exchange in the Zou (1997) model of mercantilism, the paper shows the effects of macroeconomic policies in mercantilist economies. It is shown that in the long run, consumption and foreign asset accumulation increases as a result of stronger mercantilist sentiments, permanent increases in the consumption tax, increases in the monetary growth rate and purchases of foreign bonds. In the short run, however, macroeconomic disturbances including the mercantilist sentiments, the monetary growth rate, and the consumption tax have negative effects on current consumption and positive effects on current foreign asset accumulation, while purchasing foreign bonds has positive effects on both current consumption and current foreign asset accumulation. The theoretical explorations may provide a theoretical structure for hoarding international reserves and export-led growth strategy utilized by emerging market economies.

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Does the Entrepreneurship of the Parents Affect the Opportunities of their Offspring’s Entrepreneurship? Empirical Analysis Based on the CGSS 2010–2013 Data
Yongmei Hu, Yun Xing
Front. Econ. China. 2018, 13 (2): 196-222.
Abstract   PDF (670KB)

The whole society is paying close attention to “entrepreneurship,” which urges researchers to find an explanatory perspective relatively independent and with causality on the intergenerational transfer of entrepreneurship. Based on the data of the Chinese General Social Survey (short for CGSS) during the years 2010–2013, this paper analyzes how parents’ entrepreneurship affects the probability of their offspring’s entrepreneurship, and the results show that compared with the offspring of parents who did not start their own business, those whose parents did are more likely to choose to start their own business. In view of historical facts such as the “lay-off wave” during China’s transformation into a market economy, we use “the annual number of unemployed back to work,” a provincial-level indicator, in the 1990s as an instrumental variable to correct possible endogenous problems. We find that parents’ entrepreneurship has significant positive effects on the probability of their offspring’s entrepreneurship, which may result from the informal transfer of human capital and wealth from parents to their offspring.

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Asymmetric Decentralization, Intergovernmental Transfers, and Expenditure Policies of Local Governments
Yongyou Li
Front. Econ. China. 2018, 13 (2): 223-248.
Abstract   PDF (399KB)

Although China’s asymmetric fiscal decentralization system has been criticized for many years, there have been few studies giving direct evidence of its negative incentives on local government spending policies. By introducing the mechanism of asymmetric decentralization and fiscal transfers to the objective function of local government, this paper studies the incentive effects of asymmetric decentralization and fiscal transfers on spending policies of local governments, and uses the provincial panel data to carry out an empirical test. The conclusion shows that the asymmetric decentralization significantly weakens the incentives of local government to increase social expenditure, and as a solution to asymmetric decentralization, fiscal transfers fail to play a good role. Due to the relatively large income effect, the financing mechanism of fiscal transfers not only significantly reduces the incentives of local government to provide social public goods, but also weakens the constraint effect of fiscal competition on expenditure policies of local governments because of the increase in the relative cost. Although the distribution mechanism of fiscal transfers has a significant positive incentive to local government in regions where the net inflow of fiscal resources is more than zero, because of common pooling effects, the comprehensive effects of fiscal transfers in the distribution of incentives of local governments to provide social public goods are negative in all regions.

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Agricultural Roots in Intergenerational Transfers in China
Yan Liu, Qingqing Zong
Front. Econ. China. 2018, 13 (2): 249-280.
Abstract   PDF (376KB)

Economists have been interested in the motivations of intergenerational transfers, for different motivations affect the effectiveness of anti-poverty public transfers. However, one’s motivation is largely shaped by culture and social conventions. This paper sheds light on the influence of rice cultivation in intergenerational transfers in China. This is also the first time that economists consider cultural factors in the study of intergenerational transfers. Cultivating rice requires elaborate irrigation systems and large amounts of labor input so that rice farmers have to cooperate extensively with their neighbors, which has gradually shaped people’s value to be more inter-dependent. Based on micro-level data from CHARLS and sub-national rice data from China, our empirical results show strong evidence that individuals from rice regions are more likely to provide economic support for their parents. A one-percentage point increase in the share of rice in the total grain planting area will raise transfer incidence by 0.2–0.4 percentage points, and rice region residents transfer on average 300–400 yuan more in 2011 and about 1,000 yuan more in 2013 to their parents than those from wheat regions. Meanwhile they are more inclined to rely on their adult children for elderly support. Urban citizens are less affected. Using instrumental variable estimation, we are able to prove the effect is causal. With future continued deepening of population aging in China, relying on children for old age support may become more and more unrealistic, the government needs to coordinate the relationship between public transfer and private transfer to ensure the quality of life for the elderly.

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Does Over-credit Stimulate Corporate Investment? Evidence from Listed Companies in China
Yuying Jin, Dong Zhao
Front. Econ. China. 2018, 13 (2): 281-311.
Abstract   PDF (695KB)

We define and quantify for the first time over-credit at the firm level, which refers to the case in which the amount of bank credit that a firm obtains exceeds its expenditure on corporate investment for the year. Then, we explore how over-credit affects corporate investment to determine whether credit expansion in China is consistent with the principle of finance serving the real economy. The results show that over-credit promotes firm investment, and this effect was enhanced by the housing boom. However, the effect of the property market reversed after 2012, owing to China’s economic transition from a quantitative to a structural mismatch between supply and demand. Finally, we explore how over-credit affects the capacity utilization ratio and whether it has aggravated the overcapacity problem in China. The results show that over-credit reduces firms’ capacity utilization ratio. This finding indicates that excessive credit expansion has exacerbated the overcapacity problem in China.

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7 articles