Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India

Barry Bosworth, Susan M. Collins

NBER Working Paper No. 12943
Issued in February 2007
NBER Program(s):   IFM

We compare the recent economic performances of China and India using a simple growth accounting framework that produces estimates of the contribution of labor, capital, education, and total factor productivity for the three sectors of agriculture, industry, and services as well as for the aggregate economy. Our analysis incorporates recent data revisions in both countries and includes extensive discussion of the underlying data series. The growth accounts show a roughly equal division in each country between the contributions of capital accumulation and TFP to growth in output per worker over the period 1978-2004, and an acceleration of growth when the period is divided at 1993. However, the magnitude of output growth in China is roughly double that of India at the aggregate level, and also higher in each of the three sectors in both sub-periods. In China the post-1993 acceleration was concentrated mostly in industry, which contributed nearly 60 percent of China's aggregate productivity growth. In contrast, 45 percent of the growth in India in the second sub-period came in services. Reallocation of workers from agriculture to industry and services has contributed 1.2 percentage points to productivity growth in each country.

download in pdf format
   (170 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (170 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12943

Published: Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins, 2008. "Accounting for Growth: Comparing China and India," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 45-66, Winter. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Barro w6654 Notes on Growth Accounting
Hulten w15341 Growth Accounting
Reinhart and Rogoff w15639 Growth in a Time of Debt
Young w7856 Gold into Base Metals: Productivity Growth in the People's Republic of China during the Reform Period
Sachs and Woo w5935 Understanding China's Economic Performance
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us