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Understanding openness and productivity growth in China: An empirical study of the Chinese provinces

By Yanqing Jiang

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of openness on China's regional productivity growth. We build a model of technology diffusion in which follower economies achieve productivity growth by taking advantage of technology spillovers from the world technology frontier. We hypothesize that China's regional productivity growth is a positive function of regional openness and a negative function of the current level of regional productivity. Empirical analysis in this paper focuses on how openness affects productivity growth in the Chinese provinces. We examine two effects of openness on regional productivity growth in China: the direct growth effect and the convergence effect. By using a variety of panel data regression techniques, we show that the direct growth effect of openness is the main effect while the convergence effect is insignificant. The findings of this paper lend strong support to the claim that the opening-up of China promotes the country's economic growth.Productivity Openness Convergence

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