Population dynamics and economic growth in China

Jane Golley, Zheng (Annie) Wei

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This paper focuses on two major elements of China's population dynamics-the rising proportion of workers in the population and the shift of rural workers from agriculture into industry and services-in a provincial-level analysis of per capita income and productivity growth during the last three decades. We measure the 'mechanical' contributions of these dynamics to per capita income as revealed by growth decompositions, before assessing the determinants of per capita income and productivity growth in a series of regressions that include the growth of the working-age to total population (. WAP) ratio and a measure of sectoral employment change. Our results indicate that sectoral change has made a significant positive contribution to both per capita income growth and aggregate productivity growth, stemming from its positive impact on agricultural productivity growth-as predicted by the Lewisian dual economy model. However, the negative impact of sectoral change on productivity growth in the industrial and service sectors, combined with the negative impact of growth of the WAP ratio on both per capita income and aggregate productivity growth, suggests that the benefits of China's population dynamics during the last three decades have been overstated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)15-32
    JournalChina Economic Review
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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