Differences in Prefectural Growth Rates

Chris Bramall

in Sources of Chinese Economic Growth, 1978-1996

Published in print September 2000 | ISBN: 9780198296973
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596018 | DOI:

Series: Studies on Contemporary China

Differences in Prefectural Growth Rates

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This chapter applies the theory developed in previous chapters to the growth process in four very different Chinese regions: Suzhou (in the Yangzi delta), Wenzhou (in coastal Zhejiang province), Wenjiang (on the Chengdu plain in Sichuan) and Liangshan (in the mountainous south‐west of Sichuan). It shows that differences in growth rates between these four––output in Suzhou grew almost twice as fast as in Liangshan––can be explained in terms of the interaction of economic geography, catch‐up, factor accumulation, and productivity growth. Liangshan was handicapped by its location, by its low literacy rate, by its modest accumulation rate, and by the inability of its agricultural sector to release labour. By contrast, Suzhou was privileged in all these respects, and its growth rate reflected the fact.

Keywords: catch‐up; geography; investment; Liangshan; productivity; Sichuan; Suzhou; Wenjiang; Wenzhou

Chapter.  14351 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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