Has China’s fast industrial growth been efficient? An industry-level investigation with a newly constructed data set

Harry X. Wu, Esther Y.P. Shea, Alice Shiu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We adopt contemporaneous, nonradial and variable returns to scale assumptions in a data envelopment analysis (DEA) exercise to address the inefficiency problem in Chinese industries in different policy regimes using a newly constructed data set for 24 Chinese manufacturing industries in 1952–2008. While confirming that the central planning period was indeed a ‘graveyard’ for productivity that entailed severe technical regress and efficiency losses, we do not find a steady improvement in efficiency during the reform period despite strong technical progress. We argue that the resurgent prominence of the government and the state sector since the late 1990s, especially following China’s World Trade Organization accession, has obstructed the efficiency improvement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4275-4298
Number of pages24
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • economic transition in China
  • Malmquist indices
  • technical efficiency (TE)
  • technical progress (TP)
  • total factor productivity (TFP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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