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China's Great Economic Transformation Paperback – April 14, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0521712903 ISBN-10: 0521712904 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 930 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (April 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521712904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521712903
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"This impressive collection of twenty chapters provides a comprehensive, penetrating, and timely analysis of China's remarkable economic transformation in the past three decades, one of the most significant economic events with global importance. All of the chapters are written by some of today's most active experts on China's economy, and many chapters jointly with the distinguished experts in the specific area of the discipline. The authors do not analyze China's case in isolation but place it in the general context of economic development and transition and the experiences of other economies; and they do not simply amass the numbers but interpret the data in light of economic theories. It is a valuable book for those who want to gain an in-depth knowledge about China's economic achievements, shortcomings, and challenges." - Yingyi Qian, University of California, Berkeley

"China's Great Economic Transformation of the last thirty years is one of the most important economic events in history. The volume edited by Brandt and Rawski, with contributions from an impressive array of world class China scholars and economists, is by far the most comprehensive attempt to date at understanding this phenomenon. This volume will be for many years to come the top reference to understand China's growing role in the world economy." - Gerard Roland, Berkeley University

"This book collects masterful surveys of all important aspects of the Chinese economy by some of the leading experts in the field. The sheer comprehensiveness is impressive. It is highly useful to both people who need a quick introduction to the subject and to other China researchers." - Shang-Jin Wei, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University

"A valuable reference for collections supporting development economics and China studies. Recommended." - Choice

"There is an old Chinese saying that 'A book holds a house of gold.' This volume edited by two eminent scholars on China is an impressive achievement and certainly yields a treasure trove of detailed information and thoughtful analysis of the Chinese economy.... What makes this volume stand out from the crowd is the sheer wealth of material that is brought to bear on different aspects of the growth process and their implications for economic welfare and sustainability of that growth.... This volume is indeed destined to become part of the essential collection of reference and source materials for scholars as well as students of the Chinese economy." - Eswar Prasad, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, The Brookings Institution

"China's Great Economic Transformation is a fine, comprehensive set of discussions of China's economy from the late 1970s, when the reform period begain, until around 2006.... If the editors had been intimidated by the rapidity of change and retreated from aiming at their moving target, this useful and informative book would not exist and we would be the poorer for it. China's Great Economic Transformation will serve very well, at least for a few more years, as a comprehensive reader in courses on China's economy." - Carl Riskin, Queens College, CUNY and Columbia University, The China Journal

Book Description

Three decades of astonishing and unexpected growth have rocketed China's economy from poverty to growing prosperity. This book explains why China's economy grew so rapidly in spite of many weaknesses and shows how China's boom began and how it was extended.

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Loyd E. Eskildson HALL OF FAME on September 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
The authors begin by summarizing China's economic environment prior to the reforms begun by Deng Xiaoping in 1979. Product and process innovations were pushed aside in favor of simply "fulfilling the plan," unless innovation was specifically ordered. Thus, both products and processes were outdated. Security considerations mandated movement of factories to interior regions during the 1950s and 1960s. Ideological objectives imposed economic costs such as curtailing small-scale commerce to protect citizens from the evils of capitalism, or closing schools to send urban youth to work in the fields.

Two factors galled China's leaders after Mao. 1)Its standing within East Asia was weak - Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong had raced far ahead. 2)Chronic food supply problems, memories of the 1959 famine with its 30-40 million deaths created the greatest pressure and receptivity to reforms beginning in the farm sector. Many Chinese didn't bother to work in the fields because there was no reward for additional hands in the commune system; in addition, many potential workers were themselves suffering from malnutrition. Changing to household farming from collective efforts brought new incentive, the increased nutrition added energy and workers - the outcome was millions of villagers looking for outside employment in rural areas. The excess workers created local restaurants, stores, private schools, etc.

Dual prices (fixed at government-set levels for quota production, market levels for any excess) encouraged change and increased output without major disruptions such as the population being unable to afford any goods (eg. Russia, years later; minimized political struggle) and also encouraged regional specialization and the transfer of production to other areas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By smitka on July 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
There are lots of edited volumes and sole-author volumes on the Chinese economy. But despite the passage of time (year after year of 10% growth) the underlying issues and analytic approach of the authors of the book's 20 chapters remain spot on. While I keep up with the latest, this is still what I use as a text / reference work for my course on China's economy, supplemented by lots of more recent "economics working papers". Certainly the numbers for urbanization are now different, but the Chan, Henderson and Tsui chapter is great for analytics and issues. Ditto those for structural transformation (Brandt et al), political economy (Naughton), demography (Wang et al) and fiscal issues (Wong & Bird), to name but a few. While a few chapters are written by non-China-specialists, in general the editors have pulled together the top people in each field.

The chapters are by intent accessible to general readers; tables and data are aplenty, but these are not narrow technical papers full of regression statistics. Jargon is in general expalined. Models are presented in prose form, not in mathematics; policy issues are highlighted. Each chapter includes an extensive bibliography, but these are not (mere) literature surveys, but essays in which the authors tend to take a stand rather than present on-the-one-hand-on-the-other analysis. Finally, and highly unusual for an edited volume, the chapters even cross-reference each other.

All of this means that this work has "legs" compared to much of what is available on China. To reiterate, this is a book I've felt free not only to use with undergraduate economics students, but to reuse.
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