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Political Economy of China

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (PDT)

Manchester Grand Hyatt, Old Town A
Hosted By: Union for Radical Political Economics
  • Chair: Paddy Quick, St. Francis College-Brooklyn

Fixed Capital, Accelerated Depreciation, and Economic Growth: Mathematical and Empirical Studies Based on Political Economy

Bangxi Li
Tsinghua University
Chong Liu
Tsinghua University


The period of transition in China poses new problems and propositions for the efficient usage of its supply-side fixed capital input, while meeting the goal of a sustainable economic growth. In 2014, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation of China decided to deploy and improve accelerated depreciation of fixed capital, as one of the important tools, to promote tax reform and industrial upgrading, and to stimulate economic growth. However, there is little literature on systematic research. Based on the perspective of Marxist political economy, this paper constructs a three-Sector structural table and mathematical model containing fixed capital. This paper simulates the accelerated depreciation of fixed capital and verifies that it can drive economic growth, and the degree increases with the shortening of the accounting depreciation period. Further, this paper disassembles this effect and holds that the promotion of shortening accounting depreciation period to the renewal investment of enterprises is based on the imbalance and inadequacy of production capacity released under the adjustment of corresponding physical depreciation period. This paper also finds that there is an endogenous inflection point in the adjustment effect of negative driving economic growth. Therefore, a method for mathematical judgment of an inflection point is proposed in this paper, and the determination and specifications of the key indicators, such as the lowest depreciation period, are discussed by calculating the depreciation-profit-growth curve of China from 1987 to 2015. We find theoretical basis and practical significance for improvement of taxation policy and the optimization of industrial structure.

Key Words:
fixed capital, accelerated depreciation, Inflection point of physical depreciation period, taxation policy, industrial structure

China: Rich Country, Poor People? The Expansion of Economic Nationalism

Brian Chi-ang Lin
National Chengchi University


The US and China have embarked upon a full-scale trade war since March 2018. This ongoing conflict is not a coincidence if we analyze the expansion of China's economy from the perspective of international political economy. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, China was the largest national economy in the world. After the Industrial Revolution took place in Britain in the late eighteenth century, many countries followed Britain’s lead and experienced economic prosperity. China, on the other hand, has long become an economic laggard. According to the late Joseph Needham, China was the global leader in many fields of scientific and innovative breakthroughs during the Tang and Song dynasties. Why this technological advantage did not lead to a Chinese industrial revolution has been referred to as the “Needham puzzle.” Although the Needham puzzle remains to be solved, China’s economic performance since the early 1980s has triggered another thought-provoking question. If China keeps growing (even at a slower rate), China could eventually regain the global economic power she once had in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has recently initiated a series of important policies such as the domestic nationalization of private corporations and the international One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative to promote the national economy and, accordingly, to sustain the CCP's authoritative regime. Whereas traditional economic nationalism focused on the internal development of the national economy, China's economic nationalism has deliberately evolved into a stage of international economic integration (of the Chinese style). This paper first analyzes China's economic nationalism from the perspective of international political economy. Next, this paper thoroughly evaluates the likely politico-economic consequences of China's institutional restoration of global power under the ruling CCP.

Population and Capital Flows in Metropolitan Beijing: Empirical Evidence from the Past 30 Years

Hanlin Qiang
Tsinghua University


This study is an empirical demonstration of David Harvey’s critical analysis of the urban process
in the context of Beijing, the capital of China. Using data from Beijing Municipal Statistical
Bureau (1978-2018) and the geographic information software package Arc-GIS, we show that
migrant workers in Beijing expanded toward the inner city during the 1990s, and since 2000 the
population, while expanding, has been moving outward toward the suburban areas. Further, we
find that for most of the time, the movement of population (including both local residents and
migrant workers) was mainly driven by capital flows, while since 2015 it has increasingly been
determined by population control policies enforced by the local authority.
Keywords: critical urban theory, population, Beijing, suburbanization

Gender Norm and Household Labor: Time Use in the Context of Class Differentiation in China

Zhun Xu
Howard University
Wei Zhang
Tsinghua University


It is widely recognized that the social status of women in China has remarkably improved since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. However, scholars have documented deterioration of women’s status in China during neoliberal reforms in the recent three decades. We study the historical change in the Chinese gender relations via the lens of household labor allocation. As is well known, women do more household labor. And a retreat from gender equality almost always means women returning to their traditional roles as family cleaners, cooks and care givers. Thus the changes in women’s share in household labor time serves as a direct measure of women’s status and gender inequality in a society. Utilizing data from the Chinese Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), we study the impact of social class on household labor allocation between 1991 and 2011. The transition to a market economy has produced two distinct effects. On the one hand, soaring income inequality in the last few decades re-created class division and class domination. The neoliberal reform has thus naturally disrupted and restructured the gender relationship within each family. On the other hand, the reform has also induced massive migration and urbanization, which may have weakened certain patriarchal norms. Our results suggest although some rural families now have a more equal gender relation, the market reforms in China preserved the old patriarchal norms, and added an extra layer of inequality through increasing gender income gap.
JEL Classifications
  • O0 - General
  • P0 - General