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The Contribution of Human Capital to China's Economic Growth

34 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2010  

John Whalley

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI)

Zhao Xiliang

Xiamen University - Department of Economics

Date Written: December 2010

Abstract

This paper develops a human capital measure in the sense of Schultz (1960) and then reevaluates the contribution of human capital to China's economic growth. The results indicate that human capital plays a much more important role in China's economic growth than available literature suggests, 38.1% of economic growth over 1978-2008, and even higher for 1999-2008. In addition, because human capital formation accelerated following the major educational expansion increases after 1999 (college enrollment in China increased nearly fivefold between 1997 and 2007) while growth rates of GDP are little changed over the period after 1999, total factor productivity increases fall if human capital is used in growth accounting as we suggest. TFP, by our calculations, contributes 16.92% of growth between 1978 and 2008, but this contribution is -7.03% between 1999 and 2008. Negative TFP growth along with the high contribution of physical and human capital to economic growth seem to suggest that there have been decreased in the efficiency of inputs usage in China or worsened misallocation of physical and human capital in recent years. These results underscore the importance of efficient use of human capital, as well as the volume of human capital creation, in China's growth strategy.

Suggested Citation

Whalley, John and Xiliang, Zhao, The Contribution of Human Capital to China's Economic Growth (December 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16592. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1723020

John Whalley (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics ( email )

London, Ontario N6A 5B8
Canada
519-661-3509, ext. 83509 (Phone)
519-661-3666 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/economics/faculty/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

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Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2
Canada

Zhao Xiliang

Xiamen University - Department of Economics ( email )

Xiamen, Fujian 361005
China

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