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Frontiers of Economics in China

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, Volume 11 Issue 4 Previous Issue   
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Orginal Article
A Policy Perspective on Outward Foreign Direct Investment by Chinese State-Owned Enterprises
Steven Globerman
Front. Econ. China. 2016, 11 (4): 537-547.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0028-8
Abstract   PDF (186KB)

A growing number of developed country governments in recent years have adopted a hostile attitude towards foreign direct investments undertaken in their markets by state-owned enterprises (SOEs), the latter often based in China. The broad reason for this hostility is the belief that state-owned enterprises pursue non-commercial objectives with resulting damage to host economies. This paper argues that the empirical evidence shows SOEs are increasingly exhibiting market-owned behavior. Furthermore, any adverse consequences of non-commercial behavior are likely to be realized primarily by the SOEs themselves.

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Aging and Migration: Micro and Macro Evidence from China
Örn B. Bodvarsson,Jack W. Hou,Kailing Shen
Front. Econ. China. 2016, 11 (4): 548-580.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0029-5
Abstract   PDF (1764KB)

Post-reform China has been experiencing two major demographic changes: an increasingly aging population and an extraordinary surge of rural-urban migrants. The question we ask is: are these two demographic changes related? If yes, then, how? The standard view in the migration literature is that the older the migrant, the lower the likelihood of migration. This paper proposes a simple theory of temporary migration for unskilled labor to fit the context of China. Motivated by our model, we then use both cross-sectional micro data and panel macro data to examine the potential impacts of aging on migration. We find that shifts in China’s age distribution have generated significant changes in the country’s migration patterns: migration will shift to closer provinces (probably switching from interprovincial migration to intra-provincial migration) and will concentrate to a few destination provinces.

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R&D Returns, Spillovers and Firm Incentives: Evidence from China
Chorching Goh,Lixin Colin Xu,Wei Li
Front. Econ. China. 2016, 11 (4): 581-607.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0030-9
Abstract   PDF (317KB)

Using a new data set of 12,000 firms in China, this paper estimates the returns to R&D investment and its spillover effects, and investigates how the returns to R&D depend on firm incentives. For the firms in the sample, the results show that on average firm output increases around 0.4 yuan for each additional 1 yuan spent on R&D in the previous year, and there is high R&D return regardless of whether the endogeneity of R&D intensity is dealt with or not. Interestingly, the marginal return to R&D is significantly higher in firms whose CEOs were not appointed by the government, and lower when CEO pay is directly related to annual performance. The return to R&D is higher in relatively poor regions and for firms with worse access to finance. There are also non-trivial R&D spillover effects.

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Income Mobility and Income Inequality in Rural China
Matthieu Clément
Front. Econ. China. 2016, 11 (4): 608-634.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0031-6
Abstract   PDF (3702KB)

The economic literature has argued for a long time that income mobility could attenuate the degree of cross-sectional inequality by offering people opportunities to improve their socio-economic position. Using the longitudinal data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) from 1989 to 2011, we measure income mobility as the degree to which longer-term incomes are distributed more or less equally than yearly income. Five main results are emphasized. First, there is strong income mobility in rural China that partly offsets yearly income inequality. Second, income mobility has decreased since the 2000s, indicating that income distribution is becoming more rigid. Third, mobility is mainly associated with transitory income fluctuations, particularly in the two tails of the distribution. Fourth, income mobility has an equalizing effect on income distribution. Fifth, we show that non-agricultural income mobility has substantially increased over the period and that its equalizing nature has also recently increased. While the development of the non-agriculture sector in rural China was a crucial factor in explaining the increase in rural inequality until the mid-2000s, we suggest that the large-scale generalisation of such non-agricultural opportunities partly accounts for the decline in rural inequality observed since the mid-2000s.

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Exchange Rate Flexibility and Current Account Adjustment: A Threshold VAR Analysis
Yu You,Zongye Huang,Yoonbai Kim
Front. Econ. China. 2016, 11 (4): 635-667.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0032-3
Abstract   PDF (3721KB)

Global imbalances (current account imbalances) have become an important issue for economists and policy makers. Greater exchange rate flexibility is often suggested as a means to achieve faster and more efficient adjustment in the current account. However, previous empirical studies show little support for this hypothesis. This paper revisits this issue with a large panel dataset and a threshold VAR model and finds that (1) some existing popular exchange rate classifications may not capture actual exchange rate variability as well as expected; (2) Once exchange rate variability is correctly identified, the speed of mean reversion in the current account balance is indeed higher in a regime with greater exchange rate variability.

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Testing Commitment Models of Monetary Policy in China
Yafang Yu
Front. Econ. China. 2016, 11 (4): 668-693.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0033-0
Abstract   PDF (1279KB)

In the past decade Chinese inflation was not high on average, but it was quite volatile. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, high inflation was a very real problem. What explains the inflationary dynamics in China? In particular, does monetary policy account for the substantial run-ups of inflation, followed by the equally substantial dis-inflation? In the absence of commitment technologies, the monetary authorities may create surprise inflation to achieve higher growth, while private agents would anticipate that and adjust their decisions accordingly, leading to accelerated inflation without a real impact. Do these types of simple time-inconsistency models of monetary policy explain the dynamic pattern of inflation in China? I show that the long-run and short-run restrictions imposed by discretionary policy, when the time-inconsistent policymaker has a desire to push output above potential, are largely rejected by the data. The estimates of the inflation bias under discretion when the policymaker is asymmetrically averse to recessions are not statistically significant either. The analysis contributes to the understanding of Chinese monetary policy and its inflationary implications and also points to the need of further investigation of inflationary behavior during the economic transition.

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The Political Cause of the Movement of RMB Exchange Rate:A Research Based on the Spillover Effects of US Political Cycle
Mengnan Zhu,Qian Zhao,Yuguang Wang
Front. Econ. China. 2016, 11 (4): 694-731.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0034-7
Abstract   PDF (683KB)

Movement of the renminbi (RMB) exchange rate is not only affected by economic factors, but also by political factors home and aboard. This paper analyzes the transmission mechanism of political cycles on the RMB exchange rate first, and then sets up a “political cycle spillover effect model” followed by an empirical analysis. We find that: (1) the US political cycle has a direct effect on the RMB exchange rate in the short run, which is mainly transmitted by capital flows and China’s exchange rate policy control; (2) the RMB exchange rate changes periodically in accordance with the US presidential election and midterm election cycle, with the appreciation ratio significantly lower in the first year of the election cycle, while significantly higher in the year after the midterm election; (3) The effect of the political cycle will not be affected by which party holds power, though it will be affected if the president and parliament are ruled by the same party. This paper not only extends the research of the influencing factors of the RMB exchange rate to the political field, but also sets up a use theoretical model to analyze the impact of political issues on the RMB exchange rate, providing a new perspective to fully understand the external environment of RMB exchange rate reform.

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