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Growing Like China

Zheng Michael Song

Fudan University - School of Economics

Kjetil Storesletten

University of Oslo - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Fabrizio Zilibotti

University of Zurich; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

January 2009

CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7149

This paper constructs a growth model that is consistent with salient features of the Chinese growth experience since 1992: high output growth, sustained returns on capital investments, extensive reallocation within the manufacturing sector, falling labor share and accumulation of a large foreign surplus. The theory makes only minimal deviations from a neoclassical growth model. Its building blocks are financial imperfections and reallocation among firms with heterogeneous productivity. Some firms use more productive technologies than others, but low-productivity firms survive because of better access to credit markets. Due to the financial imperfections, high-productivity firms - which are run by entrepreneurs - must be financed out of internal savings. If these savings are sufficiently large, the high-productivity sector outgrows the low-productivity sector, and attracts an increasing employment share. During the transition, low wage growth sustains the return to capital. The downsizing of the financially integrated sector forces a growing share of domestic savings to be invested in foreign assets, generating a foreign surplus. We test some auxiliary implications of the theory and find robust empirical support.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 56

Keywords: China, Economic Growth, Entrepreneurs, Foreign Surplus, Investment, Productivity Heterogeneity, Rate of Return on Capital, Reallocation, State-Owned Firms

JEL Classification: G18, O11, O16, O47, O53, P31

Date posted: February 18, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Song, Zheng Michael and Storesletten, Kjetil and Zilibotti, Fabrizio, Growing Like China (January 2009). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7149. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1345675

Contact Information

Zheng Song
Fudan University - School of Economics ( email )
600 GuoQuan Road
Shanghai, 200433
Kjetil Storesletten (Contact Author)
University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )
P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo
+47 2284 4009 (Phone)
+47 2285 5035 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://folk.uio.no/kjstore/
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
Fabrizio Zilibotti
University of Zurich ( email )
Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom
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