Frontiers of Economics in China

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Hidden Reserve Prices with Risk-Averse Bidders
Huagang Li, Guofu Tan
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (3): 341-370.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-006-017-0015-4
Abstract   PDF (469KB)

In this paper, we provide an alternative explanation for why auctioneers often keep the reserve price hidden or secret. We consider a standard independent private values environment in which the buyers are risk-averse and the seller has private information about her valuation of the object to be auctioned. The seller uses a first-price sealed-bid auction mechanism combined with either an announced reserve price or a hidden reserve price. We compare the seller’s ex ante expected profits under these two policies and find that the optimal hidden reserve price policy generates higher expected profits for the seller when the buyers are fairly risk-averse under particular restrictions on buyers’ preferences and the distributions of private values. As the number of the buyers increases, the hidden reserve price is more likely to dominate. Numerical methods are used to demonstrate the generality of our main results.

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China under Uncertainty: Outlook, Counterfactual and Policy Simulations, and Reform Implementation—A Summary of Annual Report (2016–2017)
Kevin X. D. Huang, Guoqiang Tian, Yibo Yang
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (2): 167-187.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-006-017-0008-8
Abstract   PDF (660KB)

China’s macroeconomy is surrounded by increased uncertainties while facing persistent downward pressures entering year 2017. Major external challenges are imposed by the chaotic political climate and disorderly retreat from globalization of the US accompanied with the impending FED rate hikes, which may trigger a destructive trade war and exert pressures on RMB depreciation and capital flight. Remaining ingrained in major internal challenges are the gridlock risks accumulated from excessive financialization of real estate sector and swelling housing market bubbles amid escalating debt levels, and more fundamentally, the continued off-real-to-virtual movement in the general economy and ascendancy of government over market in resource allocation. Based on IAR-CMM model, which takes into account both cyclical and secular factors, the baseline real GDP growth rate is projected to be 6.5% in 2017 (6.13% using more reliable instead of official data). Counterfactual analyses and policy simulations are also conducted to highlight the convoluted uncertainties surrounding China’s macroeconomy. Through the lens of these analyses, we identify a root cause of the weak outlook as the persistently distorted economic structure due to procrastination in reforms of the institutions and governance, which not only impairs China’s growth potential but also limits the power of its recent stimulating policies while exacerbating their side effects. Key to successful economic restructuring in the face of adversely evolving demographics are market-oriented reforms, with well-designed strategies to balance short-term stabilization and long-run development. Such reforms should hold center stage in China’s transition towards a modern free market economy and regulatory state.

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Premature Deindustrialisation in the Developing World
Dani Rodrik
Front. Econ. China    2017, 12 (1): 1-6.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-006-017-0001-9
Abstract   PDF (1015KB)

As developed economies have substituted away from manufacturing towards services, so too have developing countries—to an even greater extent. Such sectoral change may be premature for economies that never fully industrialised in the first place. This article presents evidence that countries with smaller manufacturing sectors substitute away from manufacturing to a larger extent, suggesting a trade channel through which falling international relative prices of manufacturing lead price-taking developing economies to substitute accordingly.

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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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A Biography of Gregory C. Chow
Ben Bernanke
Front. Econ. China    2016, 11 (3): 351-354.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0019-8
Abstract   PDF (148KB)
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China’s Macroeconomic Outlook and Risk Assessment: Counterfactual Analysis, Policy Simulation, and Long-Term Governance — A Summary of Annual Report (2015–2016)
Kevin X. D. Huang,Guoqiang Tian
Front. Econ. China    2016, 11 (2): 173-191.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0011-2
Abstract   PDF (5436KB)

This summary report highlights the confluence of continued downward pressures and deflation scares in the face of looming uncertainty in China’s key macroeconomic landscapes. Counterfactual analyses and policy simulations are conducted, in addition to benchmark forecasts, based on IAR-CMM model and taking into account both cyclical and secular factors. Economic deceleration is projected to continue in the short to medium term, with real GDP growth declining to 6.3% (5.5% using more reliable instead of official data) in 2016 and facing a significant risk of sliding further down in 2017. Five key factors contributing to the weak outlook, additional to frictions and impediments associated with economic transition/restructuring and lackluster domestic/external demands, are identified, including: lack of new growth/ development engine, exhaustion of government-led driving force, the crowding-out of private sectors by state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with excess capacity\capital overhang, nonperforming government sectors and officials, and twist or misinterpretation of the “New Normal.” A root cause of these problems, lying with sluggishness in China’s transformation into a market based economy, has to do with overpowered government but underpowered market in resource allocation and government underperformance in enforcing integrity and transparency in the marketplace and in providing public goods and services. At the nexus between inclusive growth and institutional transformation are market oriented and rule of law governed structural reforms and harmonious development. As such, fundamental institutional reforms that dialectically balance demand and supply side factors and properly weigh short run stabilization against long run development should be elevated to the top of the agenda.

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Preface for Special Issue Honoring Gregory Chow
Dwight H. Perkins
Front. Econ. China    2016, 11 (1): 1-6.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-005-016-0001-5
Abstract   PDF (71KB)
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Governance Reforms and Growth: Some Ideas from Economic Theory
Avinash Dixit
Front. Econ. China    2015, 10 (4): 567-584.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-004-015-0025-3
Abstract   PDF (219KB)

Ideas from the theory of incentives and organization are deployed to examine how some aspects of economic governance—primarily protection of property rights, enforcement of contracts, and oversight regulation—can be improved for achieving better economic growth and development. Some suggestions for reform of governance institutions in developing countries are offered.

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Hot Money Flows, Cycles in Primary Commodity Prices, and Financial Control in Developing Countries
Ronald McKinnon
Front. Econ. China    2015, 10 (2): 201-223.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-004-015-0009-7
Abstract   PDF (6571KB)

Because the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy is at the center of the world dollar standard, it has a first-order impact on global financial stability. However, except during international crises, the Fed focuses on domestic American economic indicators and generally ignores collateral damage from its monetary policies on the rest of the world. Currently, ultra-low interest rates on short-term dollar assets ignite waves of hot money into Emerging Markets (EM) with convertible currencies. When each EM central bank intervenes to prevent its individual currency from appreciating, collectively they lose monetary control, inflate, and cause an upsurge in primary commodity prices internationally. These bubbles burst when some accident at the center, such as a banking crisis, causes a return of the hot money to the United States (and to other industrial countries) as commercial banks stop lending to foreign exchange speculators. World prices of primary products then collapse. African countries with exchange controls and less convertible currencies are not so attractive to currency speculators. Thus, they are less vulnerable than EM to the ebb and flow of hot money. However, African countries are more vulnerable to cycles in primary commodity prices because food is a greater proportion of their consumption, and—being less industrialized—they are more vulnerable to fluctuations in prices of their commodity exports. Supply-side shocks, such as a crop failure anywhere in the world, can affect the price of an individual commodity. But joint fluctuations in the prices of all primary products—minerals, energy, cereals, and so on—reflect monetary conditions in the world economy as determined by the ebb and flow of hot money from the United States, and increasingly from other industrial countries with near-zero interest rates.

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A Comparative Study of Two Global Crises
Front. Econ. China    2015, 10 (3): 396-413.   DOI: 10.3868/s060-004-015-0017-0
Abstract   PDF (4049KB)

This article identifies the differences and common features of two global crises: the Great Depression of 1929 and the international financial crisis of 2008. The circumstances of the two crises differ in terms of the demographic structure, the technological conditions, the economic and social systems in developed countries, the extent of globalization and other global economic situations. Among the common features, both crises were preceded by unprecedented economic booms, laisse-faire regulatory policies, easy monetary and credit policies, asset bubbles and yawning income gaps. Moreover, the crises had a strong redistribution effect, which would cause shifts of power among large countries and major changes in international economic order.

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