Economic Affairs

Recent Scholarly Publications

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Complicating China’s Rise: Rural Underemployment

China’s economy has doubled in size every eight years since 1979, making it over 32 times bigger now then it was then and the second largest in the world today.1 Four decades of growth have ushered...

Moving Beyond Lewis: Employment and Wage Trends in China’s High- and Low-Skilled Industries and the Emergence of an Era of Polarization

October 2020

One of the defining features of China’s economy over the two decades between 1995 and 2015 was the persistent rise of wages for workers and professionals in nearly every segment of the economy—with...

Off the Epicenter: COVID-19 Quarantine Controls and Employment, Education, and Health Impacts in Rural Communities

October 2020

In late January 2020, China’s government initiated its first aggressive measures to combat COVID-19 by forbidding individuals from leaving their homes, radically limiting public transportation,...

Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise

October 2020

Book Synopsis: As the glittering skyline in Shanghai seemingly attests, China has quickly transformed itself from a place of stark poverty into a modern, urban, technologically savvy economic...

Conditional Cash Transfers, Uptake of Maternal and Child Health Services, and Health Outcomes in Western Rural China

August 2020

Background: Empirical evidence suggests that the uptake of maternal and child health (MCH) services is still low in poor rural areas of China.

The Hidden Cost of Worker Turnover: Attributing Product Reliability to the Turnover of Factory Workers

August 2020

Product reliability is a key concern for manufacturers.

Agricultural and Rural Development in China During the Past Four Decades: An Introduction

December 2019

The past four decades have witnessed unprecedented economic growth and rapidly rising food demand in China.

Manufacturing Productivity with Worker Turnover

November 2019

We find that rapid worker turnover significantly disrupts the productivity of responsive manufacturers.

Past Successes and Future Challenges in Rural China’s Human Capital

March 2019

This paper describes the current level of human capital in China and seeks to identify a number of education-related challenges that may slow down the nation’s economy from transitioning to high...

Can Bureaucrats Really be Paid like CEOs? Substitution Between Incentives and Resources Among School Administrators in China

February 2019

Unlike performance incentives for private sector managers, little is known about performance incentives for managers in public sector bureaucracies.

Human Capital and the Middle Income Trap: How Many of China's Youth Are Going to High School?

June 2018

The objective of this paper is to assess the nature of China’s human capital.

Rural education across China's 40 years of Reform: past successes and future challenges

January 2018

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the policy and trends in rural education in China over the past 40 years; and also discuss a number of challenges that are faced by China’s rural...

How Off-farm Employment Affects Technical Efficiency of China’s Farms: The Case of Jiangsu

March 2016

Using three-wave survey data for four villages of Jiangsu Province in China, the present paper examines whether and to what extent off-farm employment affects the technical efficiency of...

Chocolate Brands and Preferences of Chinese Consumers

March 2016

Abstract and KeywordsAlthough global exporters, foreign producers, and domestic producers have been battling each other in China’s chocolate market for decades, it is not clear how Chinese...

China’s Looming Human Capital Crisis: Upper Secondary Educational Attainment Rates and the Middle Income Trap

January 2016

Accumulation of human capital is indispensable to spur economic growth.

Dropping Out of Rural China's Secondary Schools: A Mixed-Methods Analysis

December 2015

Students in rural China are dropping out of secondary school at troubling rates.

The Impact of Vocational Schooling on Human Capital Development in Developing Countries: Evidence from China

August 2015

A number of developing countries are currently promoting vocational education and training (VET) as a way to build human capital and strengthen economic growth.

Exploring the Dropout Rates and Causes of Dropout in Upper-Secondary Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Schools in China

April 2015

Policymakers in many developing countries regard upper-secondary technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a key element in economic growth and poverty reduction.

Giving kids a head start: The impact and mechanisms of early commitment of financial aid on poor students in rural China

March 2015

We estimate the impact of two early commitment of financial aid (ECFA) programs—one at the start and one near the end of junior high school (seventh and ninth grades, respectively)—on the outcomes...

The Han-Minority Achievement Gap, Language and Returns to Schools in Rural China

January 2015

The goal of this article was to document and explain the gap in educational achievement between Han and minority students in primary schools in western China.

276-Is the high school admissions process fair? Explaining inequalities in elite high school enrollments in developing countries

October 2014

Researchers typically explain inequalities in access to elite high schools by looking at gaps that appear before the high school admissions process.

Road Expansion and Off-Farm Work in Rural China

July 2014

This study estimates the impact of road expansion on off-farm activities in rural China.

The Role of Agriculture in China's Development: Performance, policy determinants of success, and lessons for Africa

April 2014

The lost decades for China in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s look remarkably like the lost decades of Africa in the 1980s an 1990s.

The Cost of Disability in China

February 2014

We describe the degree to which household income is negatively associated with the prevalence of different types of disability (i.e.