The Return to Capital in China
China's investment rate is one of the highest in the world, which naturally leads one to suspect that the return to capital in China must be quite low. Using the data from China's national accounts, we estimate the rate of return to capital in China. We find that the aggregate rate of return to capital averaged 25% during 1978-1993, fell during 1993-1998, and has become flat at roughly 20% since 1998. This evidence suggests that the aggregate return to capital in China does not appear to be significantly lower than the return to capital in the rest of the world. We also find that the standard deviation of the rate of return to capital across Chinese provinces has fallen since 1978.
We are grateful to Jessy Zhenjie Qian for excellent research assistance. We thank Olivier Blanchard, Richard Cooper, and other Brookings Panel participants for helpful comments. We also thank Xianchun Xu from China's National Bureau of Statistics for helpful discussions. The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
- Excluding the residential housing sector...the real return to capital in China since 1978 fluctuated between 8 percent and 12 percent and...
Chong-En Bai & Chang-Tai Hsieh & Yingyi Qian, 2006. "The Return to Capital in China," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(2006-2), pages 61-102. citation courtesy of