Matthew's Reviews > The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth

The Chinese Economy by Barry Naughton
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Jan 19, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: business-history, economics
Read from January 19 to February 10, 2010

Somewhat dry but otherwise very good and useful reading.

One major structural observation I found very useful was the division of CHina's reform into 2 stages -- from 1978 to 1993, a reform 'without losers', as Naughton calls it, and then 1993 to the present, a reform 'with losers'. On the reform, Naughton also notes how remarkable it is that China managed to transition its economy without the major macroeconomic disturbances or the widespread banditry observed in the disintegrated USSR -- he attributes this to the policy of maintaining the state's provision of critical industries/services, while opening up to markets on the margin, such that, as he describes, it started out a big chunk of centralised industry with a wee bit of market activity on the periphery, but as the market activity grew and the centalised part was slowly let go off, it gradually became a small island of centralised industry floating about in a wide sea of market activity.

There is also good narrative discussion of the rural-urban divide -- not just the statistics but also of the policies and political history behind the divide -- and of the industrial and trade policy, and the evolution of the financial system.

One thing I'd have liked to see more of is discussion of how much China remains a centralised economy dependent on top down policy guidance, despite all the market reforms and pricing infrastructure -- there is some recognition that the major industries remain SOE controlled, but there is not much input on how and why even areas like the property market, ostensibly freely market priced, are still extremely dependent on policy direction.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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unperspicacious Try Loren Brandt and Thomas Rawski's edited volume - "China's Economic Transformation" (2008). The later chapters may help to fill in some of the gaps you identified.


Matthew Geoff wrote: "Try Loren Brandt and Thomas Rawski's edited volume - "China's Economic Transformation" (2008). The later chapters may help to fill in some of the gaps you identified."

thanks Geoff, I'll be certain to check out that lead.


unperspicacious Silly me, correction - title should be "China's Great Economic Transformation."




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