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  • Author: Qiong Zhang, Binzhen Wu, Xue Qiao
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: This paper uses macro-level data between 1997 and 2008 to evaluate the effects of China's pharmaceutical price regulations. We find that these regulations had short-run effects on medicine price indexes, reducing them by less than 0.5 percentage points. The effects could have been slightly reinforced when these regulations were imposed on more medicines. However, these regulations failed to reduce household health expenditures and the average profitability of the pharmaceutical industry, and firms on the break-even edge were worse off. Finally, although these regulations have no significant effects on the price of substitutes or complements for medicines, they increased expensive medicine imports.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Human Welfare, Industrial Policy, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Qiong Zhang, Chong-En Bai
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: China's economic growth over the past three decades is unprecedented. Although this growth is commonly attributed to a high domestic savings rate among “thrifty” Chinese, savings alone cannot promote economic growth unless productivity has continuously grown for such a long period. This article uses a one-sector, neoclassical growth model to calibrate the economy to Chinese data since 1952 and finds that measuring changes in total factor productivity between 1952 and 2005 can well capture the secular movements in the Chinese savings rate. Far from supporting the widespread belief that China's savings rate is too high, this article argues that even thrifty Chinese “under-saved” for most of the years during this period; furthermore, the fiscal reforms of 1983 and 1985 further suppressed saving behavior, especially China's economic growth over the past three decades is unprecedented. Although this growth is commonly attributed to a high domestic savings rate among “thrifty” Chinese, savings alone cannot promote economic growth unless productivity has continuously grown for such a long period. This article uses a one-sector, neoclassical growth model to calibrate the economy to Chinese data since 1952 and finds that measuring changes in total factor productivity between 1952 and 2005 can well capture the secular movements in the Chinese savings rate. Far from supporting the widespread belief that China's savings rate is too high, this article argues that even thrifty Chinese “under-saved” for most of the years during this period; furthermore, the fiscal reforms of 1983 and 1985 further suppressed saving behavior, especially when initially implemented. In presenting such findings, this article at least partly solves the so-called “Chinese savings puzzle.”
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Qunhong Shen, Liyang Tang
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Many Chinese express dissatisfaction with their healthcare system with the popular phrase Kan bing nan, kan bing gui ("medical treatment is difficult to access and expensive"). Critics have cited inefficiencies in delivery and poor quality of services. Determining the pattern of patient satisfaction with health services in China-and the causes of patient dissatisfaction-may help to improve health care not only in China but in countries in similar predicaments throughout the world.
  • Topic: Economics, Markets, Social Stratification, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Dennis Arroyo
  • Publication Date: 06-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Major economic reforms are often politically difficult, causing pain to voters and provoking unrest. They may be opposed by politicians with short time horizons. They may collide with the established ideology and an entrenched ruling party. They may be resisted by bureaucrats and by vested interests. Obstacles to major economic reform can be daunting in democratic and autocratic polities alike.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: China, India, Asia, South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand
  • Author: Fangbin Qiao, Jim Wilen, Jikun Huang
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The goal of this study is to discuss why China and perhaps other developing countries may not need a refuge policy for Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton. We describe in detail the different elements that a nation—especially a developing one—should be considering when deciding if a refuge policy is needed. Drawing on a review of scientific data, economic analysis of other cases and a simulation exercise using a bio-economic model that we have produced to examine this question, we show that in the case of Bt cotton in China, the approach of not requiring special cotton refuges is defensible.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jikun Huang, Qiuqiong Huang, Richard Howitt, Jinxia Wang
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: As water becomes scarcer in northern China, designing policies that can induce water users to save water has become one of the most important tasks facing China's leader. Past water policies may not be a solution for the water scarcity problem in the long run. This paper looks at a new water policy: increasing water prices so as to provide water users with direct incentives to save water. Using a methodology that allows us to incorporate the resource constraints, we are able to recover the true price of water with a set of plot level data. Our results show that farmers are quite responsive if the correct price signal is used, unlike estimates of price elasticities that are based on traditional methods. Our estimation results show that water is severely under priced in our sample areas in China. As a result, water users are not likely to respond to increases in water prices. Thus as the first step to establishing an effective water pricing policy, policy makers must increase water price to the level of VMP so that water price reflects the true value of water, the correct price signal. Increases in water prices once they are set at the level of VMP, however, can lead to significant water savings. However, our analysis also shows that higher water prices also affect other aspects of the rural sector. Higher irrigation costs will lower the production of all crops, in general, and that of grain crops, in particular. Furthermore, when facing higher irrigation costs, households suffer income losses. Crop income distribution also worsens with increases in water prices.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, Environment
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Douglas Webster, Jianming Cai, Binyi Luo, Larisa Muller
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Hangzhou Municipality is the provincial capital of Zhejiang, on China's east coast. It forms part of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region. Hangzhou was “opened up” in the mid-1980s, following Deng Xiaoping's visit to the South, resulting in an almost immediate flood of foreign and domestic investment in manufacturing. This initial investment was significantly in the peri-urban areas, i.e., outside the built-up area. The authors have been following development in the Hangzhou extended urban region, with emphasis on peri-urbanization processes, since 2000. A previous APARC discussion paper describes findings of preliminary field research on the Hangzhou–Ningbo Corridor, conducted in August 2000 and March 2001. The present paper zooms in on two peri-urban clusters in the Hangzhou extended urban region, and assesses their development over time. The goal of the research is to better understand how a peri-urban region changes—particularly in terms of firm evolution, labor characteristics, and spatial dynamics—as it becomes more economically and demographically mature. This paper also examines such changes in the context of the increasing cost structures and emerging competitors, primarily from other areas in China, that the Hangzhou peri-urban region now faces.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Maryland
  • Author: Douglas Webster, Jianming Cai, Binyi Luo, Annemarie Schneider, Karen C. Seto
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, has undergone rapid transformation during China's post-reform period between 1978 and 2003. One of the leading cities in southwest China, Chengdu is second only to Chongqing in population. Chengdu anchors one end of the Chongqing-Chengdu urban corridor, the fourth most populous urban cluster in China. Although the upgrading of Chongqing Municipality to the equivalent of provincial status in 1997 has increased the city's profile and potential as an administrative, land transportation, and manufacturing center, it is expected that Chengdu's regional and strategic importance as a service and high-tech center will increase in the future. With increased economic specialization among Chinese cities, it is expected that Chengdu and Chongqing cities will increasingly complement each other in terms of function, both enhancing their developmental prospects as a result. Further, the development of western China is a major objective of the Tenth Five Year Plan. The “Go West” policy was introduced in 1999.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Chongqing, Chengdu
  • Author: Lawrence J. Lau, Guijuan Wang
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The Chinese economy has had the highest rate of growth in the world in the past two decades. However, despite its rapid growth and the significant improvements in its financial system, serious risks and problems still exist in both the commercial banking sector and the stock market, that may potentially threaten the stable development and growth of the entire economy. In this paper, these risks and problems in the stock market and the commercial banking sector are identified. Possible solutions are then discussed. Finally, tax reforms are proposed that have the effects of (1) eliminating the double taxation on cash dividends from corporate profits; (2) encouraging the substitution of new equity for existing debt by corporations, which can lower the P/E ratios without lowering the stock prices and improve quality of commercial bank assets by reducing the probability of new nonperforming loans; and (3) attracting new and longer-term investors, both domestic and foreign, to the Chinese stock market. It is also shown that the proposed tax reforms will not result in a significant reduction in total fiscal revenue.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Mary Comerford Cooper
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: This paper considers two questions. First, why did the Chinese government establish stock markets? Second, how have political interests shaped the key features of these markets? Based on both interviews and statistical analysis, the paper argues that China's top Party-State leaders attempted to create stock market institutions that allow the state to maintain control over listed companies, and over “the market” as a whole.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Israel, East Asia, Asia
  • Author: Mary Comerford Cooper
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: This paper examines a key aspect of the politics of stock markets in China—the distinct differences in interests between central government leaders and local governments. Central government leaders have a powerful incentive to promote macroeconomic stability and good performance of the stock market. Local leaders, for their part, are less concerned with the overall performance of the stock market than with gaining access to the stock market for companies under their own jurisdiction. The paper demonstrates that company listing brings tangible economic benefits to municipalities. Listed companies are associated with higher levels of gross domestic product (GDP), budgetary revenue, and industrial and commercial tax revenue. Therefore, it is not surprising that local officials put substantial effort into lobbying for the right to list additional companies on the national stock exchanges.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew G. Walder
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Despite skepticism about official economic statistics, there is little doubt that China since 1978 has undergone an economic transformation of historic proportions. This outcome stands in stark opposition to arguments that were once widely accepted in several scholarly communities, and which are still highly influential even today. In the early 1980s there was wide agreement that “partial” reform, under a single party dictatorship that sought indefinitely to preserve public ownership, was a recipe for failure. China specialists, students of comparative economic systems, and economists who advised governments and international agencies about postcommunist restructuring in Eurasia were initially in broad agreement on this point.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Mary Comerford Cooper
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Does the World Trade Organization promote democracy? A large part of the heated and protracted debate over China's application for WTO membership revolved around this question. Prior to China's WTO accession in December 2001, this debate had dragged on for nearly fifteen years. While one side argued that WTO membership would promote democratization in China, others argued that the wealth generated through economic integration would provide the resources to maintain authoritarian rule. Only time will tell whether WTO accession will contribute to pressures for democratization in China. In the meantime, however, this paper examines the empirical basis for these competing claims about the effects of GATT/WTO memberships on domestic political systems. Based on statistical analysis of a global data set, this paper concludes that members of the international trade regime are more likely than nonmembers to be democracies. However, there is little evidence that WTO membership in itself can promote democratic transition. Instead, it appears to be the case that democratic countries are more likely to seek to join the WTO.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew G. Walder
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Command economies gave communist-era elites administrative control and material privilege but severely restricted money income and private wealth. Markets and privatization inject new value into public assets and create unprecedented opportunities for elite insiders to extract incomes or assume ownership. These opportunities vary with the extensiveness of regime change and the barriers to asset appropriation. Within these limits, they further vary with the concentration and form of economic assets and structural changes induced by reform. Elite advantages are smallest where regime change is extensive and barriers to asset appropriation are high, and in small-scale economies that grow rapidly. In China, there has been no regime change and privatization has been delayed and slow. In the rural economy, elites keep their posts as a source of economic advantage, while low entry barriers to household enterprise and rapid growth have created new entrepreneurial elites. After two decades, rural officials nonetheless enjoy large net income advantages that grow along with the expansion of labor markets and private entrepreneurship. These are not generic outcomes of market reform, but the product of market reform in distinctive political and structural conditions.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew G. Walder, Litao Zhao
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: For more than two decades after the demise of Maoist collectivism, a resurgent market economy has deeply transformed the social structure of rural China. By the mid-1980s, peasant households had already returned to historical marketing patterns of agricultural produce and other sidelines and services. By the turn of the century, almost 140 million individuals, or 30 percent of the rural labor force, earned regular incomes from wage labor outside agriculture. Twenty million rural households had registered individual family enterprises, and two million of them had already grown into substantial private firms. A massive rural industrial sector grew up under public ownership in the 1980s, employing more than 80 million at its height. It was then extensively privatized in the 1990s, and is now less than half its former size. While these developments have been widely noted in studies of rural industrialization and income inequality, it is still far from clear how they have altered the structure and wealth of village political and economic elites.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew G. Walder
  • Publication Date: 07-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The ideal types that motivate research on transitional economies have led to a neglect of the varied mechanisms that generate social change. One example is the implicit treatment of privatization as a single process whose initial impact will become more pronounced through time. Privatization in fact occurs via distinct mechanisms that have different consequences across types of assets and through time, as shown in an analysis of career trajectories over two decades in rural China. During the first decade, when privatization proceeded via the rapid expansion of household enterprise, ordinary individuals with nonagricultural work experience were the most likely to become private entrepreneurs. Village officials, their relatives, and public enterprise managers did not enter the private sector at rates higher than others. However, during the second decade the privatization of public enterprises began to transfer collective assets to individual ownership. During this period, public enterprise managers and the relatives of cadres emerged as the most likely to become private entrepreneurs. Private entrepreneurs, however, have yet to move into cadre posts, and cadres have yet to move into private entrepreneurship, at rates higher than others. Administrative elites have therefore proven resilient in the face of private-sector expansion, and the benefits of privatization have gradually shifted in their favor.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: C.H. Kwan
  • Publication Date: 12-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The currency crisis that started in Thailand in the summer of 1997 was followed by repercussions on the currencies of neighboring countries, culminating in a crisis infecting most countries in East Asia. Japan and China, which have developed strong ties with the rest of Asia through trade and investment, have not been exempted from this contagion. This paper looks at the latest currency crisis in Asia from the perspectives of these two regional giants.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Israel, East Asia, Asia, Thailand
  • Author: Donald Emmerson, Henry Rowen, Michel Oksenberg, Daniel Okimoto, James Raphael, Thomas Rohlen, Michael H. Armacost
  • Publication Date: 01-1996
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Since the end of the Cold War, the power and prestige of the United States in East Asia have suffered a worrisome degree of erosion. The erosion is, in part, the by-product of long-run secular trends, such as structural shifts in the balance of power caused by the pacesetting growth of East Asian economies. But the decline has been aggravated by shortcomings in U.S. policy toward East Asia, particularly the lack of a coherent strategy and a clear-cut set of policy priorities for the post-Cold War environment. If these shortcomings are not corrected, the United States runs the risk of being marginalized in East Asia--precisely at a time when our stakes in the region are as essential as those in any area of the world. What is needed, above all, is a sound, consistent, and publicly articulated strategy, one which holds forth the prospect of serving as the basis for a sustainable, nonpartisan domestic consensus. The elements of an emerging national consensus can be identified as follows:
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy, Economics
  • Political Geography: United States, China, Israel, East Asia, Asia