Productivity growth and structural change in Chinese manufacturing : 1980 - 2002

L. Wang, A. Szirmai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This article focuses on the contribution of structural change to aggregate manufacturing and industrial productivity in China. Using shift-share techniques, this article examines three types of structural change: changes in the sectoral structure of production, changes in the ownership structure, and changes in the regional structure of production. Overall productivity growth was slow in the 1980s, but accelerated dramatically from 1990 onwards. In 1980s, we found evidence of a structural change bonus, with sectoral shifts contributing 24% to overall productivity growth. However, when productivity growth accelerated in the 1990s, the contribution of the shift effect dropped to a mere 3.3%. In contrast to sectoral changes, changes in the ownership structure in the early 1980s contributed negatively to overall productivity growth. The contributions of ownership change turned positive after 1985, reaching 23% of productivity growth in the period 1992–1997. Shifts in ownership explain a substantial part of productivity growth during the productivity boom. Like shifts in ownership, regional shifts initially contributed negatively to productivity growth till 1992, and positively thereafter. However, the general contribution of regional shifts is lower than the contributions of sectoral and ownership shifts. Contrary to initial expectations, the regional analysis of productivity trends does not indicate regional divergence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-874
Number of pages34
JournalIndustrial and Corporate Change
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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