The Economic Development of China

MPRA Working Paper No. 45067

26 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2013 Last revised: 27 Mar 2013

See all articles by Brandon Levy

Brandon Levy

University of Houston - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 2013


Prior to the early part of the 19th century, China’s economy had long been superior to that of the West’s. The Chinese’s ability to utilize science and technology had been instrumental in leading their enormous population to economic prosperity and for a while, superiority. During the 18th century European science and technology surpassed that of the Chinese. It is my contention that a variety of Chinese contributions expedited Europe’s prolific economic development and aided in its expansion. Perhaps with the assistance of innovations derived from China, the European economy was able to forge ahead of China’s economy. In addition to the Europeans developments there were several other contributing factors that led to the fall of the Chinese economy. Using historical background the latter part of this paper aim’s to explain the rapid growth that has recently occurred in China. In spite of substantial adversity, China has re-emerged as one of the most dominant economic forces in the world. To begin I will use historical background in an attempt to explain what China was able to contribute, both directly as well as indirectly to the development of Europe. It is also my objective to explain that a distinct correlation exists between Europe’s rapid economic growth and the fall of China during the 18th century.

Keywords: Ancient China, Confucianism, Imperialism

JEL Classification: A10, A22, O10, O18, O19, N0, N9, N95

Suggested Citation

Levy, Brandon, The Economic Development of China (March 2013). MPRA Working Paper No. 45067, Available at SSRN: or

Brandon Levy (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-5882
United States

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