Understanding the Past, Present, and Future of China’s Economic Development —Based on A Unified Framework of Growth Theories

Cai Fang

Institute of Population and Labor Economics of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China

Abstract:  Through exploring the limitation of the neoclassical theory of economic growth, which classifies growth as a homogenous process, this paper reconciles various theories of economic development and explains the rises and falls of economic growth under a unified framework, focusing on incentives of the accumulation of physical and human capital. This paper classifies instances of economic growth into four categories—the Malthusian poverty trap, the Lewis dual model of economic development, the Lewis turning point, and Solow neoclassical growth model. This paper conducts empirical analysis of these categories of economic development as they are relevant to Chinese economic growth and discusses policy implications therein.
Keywords: Needham’s Grand Question, economic growth type, great divergence, middle-income trap

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