Asia-Pacific Development Journal

The Asia-Pacific Development Journal (APDJ) is published twice a year by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. The primary objective of the APDJ is to provide a platform for the exchange of knowledge, experience, ideas, information and data on all aspects of economic and social development issues and concerns facing the region and aims to stimulate policy debate and assist policy formulation. The APDJ provides a scholarly means for bringing together research work by eminent social scientists and development practitioners from the region and beyond for use by a variety of stakeholders. The Journal aims to stimulate policy debate and assist policy formulation in the region.


Productivity in China: Past success and future challenges

The present paper discusses total factor productivity (TFP) in China, including its past success, the current slowdown, and the potential for future growth. It begins by documenting the development of TFP growth over the past three and a half decades, its driving forces and its contribution to the economic growth of the country. It then analyses the reasons for the current slowdown of TFP and economic growth, addresses the institutional imperfections that hinder growth, and explains the government policies and strategies aimed at fostering TFP. Next, it explores the potential for TFP growth from the perspective of institutional reform, investment in research and development and human capital. The paper concludes that although the resources of the past successful TFP have decreased or diminished, further institutional reform, increasing investment in research and development and human capital, and strategies promoting indigenous innovation will become new engines for future TFP growth in China. As the country’s TFP is still at a low level compared with advanced economies, there is large scope for China to maintain relatively high TFP growth, although uncertainty and risk are associated with this process.


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