Analysis of regional productivity growth in China: A generalized metafrontier MPI approach

Ku Hsieh Chen, Yi Ju Huang, Chih Hai Yang

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This paper analyzes the dynamics of China's productivity for the period 1996-2004 with a newly developed methodology - generalized metafrontier Malmquist productivity index (gMMPI). Implementing the gMMPI, this paper reviews the inequality of the coastal and non-coastal provinces, as well as the latent impact of scale efficiency change (SEC) for China. Using provincial data for the years 1996-2004, the empirical results are as follows. On average, China demonstrates an annual 3.191% productivity change, which is lower than 4.729% for the conventional MPI and accounts for about 26.508% of output growth over the period 1996-2004. Most of this change is propelled by technical progress, while a fraction is driven by the adjustment in production scale, and the efficiency change has an adverse effect. Furthermore, regional inequality is also found in this empirical work, and the productivity change of the coastal region is actually stronger than that of the non-coastal region. This paper also casts some focus on the China Western Development policy. Indeed, we do not find any outstanding achievement from the policy in the sample period, except that the west region sustained its rate of productivity change after 2000. Moreover, the SEC is found to be trivial in the advanced coastal region, but plays an important role in the relatively laggard non-coastal region. The implication of the positive SEC in the non-coastal region means that China's Western Development policy will improve the scale efficiency and the TFP growth of the west region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-792
Number of pages16
JournalChina Economic Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • China
  • Metafrontier
  • Productivity


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