Monthly Archives: September 2010

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a currency legislation overnight.

The bill enables US industries to seek relief through tariffs on imports from “economies with fundamentally undervalued currencies” (such as China).

Although we believe this particular bill is unlikely to be enacted due to foreseeable difficulties in legislation and implementation, elevated trade disputes activity against China is unlikely to subside given high unemployment rates in the G-3 in the near term.

On the other hand, the Chinese government will probably adjust the pace of the CNY’s appreciation to pacify protectionists while increasing imports to reduce external imbalances.

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好友博客

哪个朋友的博客搬家完毕了,请通知我,我好加个链接到好友博客里。

Gary Becker 关于中国经济的一篇文章(WSJ)

摘要:1。中国经济在过去20-30年发展迅速,但人均收入仍然很低。2。中国想要从中等收入国家进入到高收入国家,必须鼓励发展私营经济。3。私营经济在中国有些行业已经占主导地位,但国营经济仍然垄断着一些重要行业,比如金融。金融行业再给低效率的国营经济贷款,从而使整个经济效率低下。4。中国从国外进口了很多技术,但想成为经济强国,发展自己的技术很重要。5。人民币被低估了,升值人民币可以防止进一步积累美元资产,并且促进国内消费。

评论:1。同意观点2和3。中国政府当然知道这个问题,但不到万不得已,不可能会放弃对经济的控制。不然政权不保啊。2。既然Becker相信市场经济,就不应该相信汇率被低估的说法。市场经济一个最重要的调整渠道是价格。在价格能充分反映市场供需的情况下(比如完全flexible的价格),名义汇率对决定进出口价格是毫无意义的:汇率固定了,价格可以自己调整,因而不存在什么低估高估的问题。中国巨额贸易顺差的问题根本还是在国有经济过于强大。我以前的帖子中提到,在中国贸易顺差大幅上升期间,中国居民储蓄并没有怎么增加,增加的是政府和国营企业的储蓄。这些储蓄不降下来,中国的贸易顺差不可能降低。3。人民币升值不可能大规模促进中国居民消费。因为居民不是不消费,而是根本没钱消费。进口产品在多数居民的消费品中比例很小,人民币升不升值对他们影响不大。4。中国大城市房地产价格现在已经直逼世界各大城市的价格。在这方面中国绝对和世界是接轨的。如果人民币大幅度升值了,这些房地产价格相对世界其他国家就会过高。即使房地产价格不再升,也能无缘无故搞个房地产泡沫出来。这种资产价格由于汇率变动引起的错配(misallignment)怎么调节?靠资产价格下降?那中国肯定要走日本的老路了。

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China’s Next Leap Forward
By Gary S. Becker
The Wall Street Journal
Wed, 29 Sep 2010
A21
English
1212 words
I just spent two weeks lecturing in China and Hong Kong, and discussing China’s economic development with many economists, businessmen and government officials. China’s progress since my first trip there in 1981 has been truly remarkable, and I expect considerable growth during the next decade. Nevertheless, China still faces many challenges if it is to move beyond middle-level income status into the exclusive club of high per capita income countries.No country in the modern world has managed persistent economic growth without considerable reliance on private enterprise and decentralized private markets. All centrally planned economies failed to achieve sustained development, including the Soviet Union before its collapse, China before market reforms began in the late 1970s, and Cuba since Castro’s revolution in the late 1950s.

China’s private sector has led its dominance in textiles, electronics, and other consumer and producer goods. It’s followed the model of the “Asian Tigers” — Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan — and relied heavily on exports produced with cheap labor. In the process, China has accumulated enormous reserves, as Taiwan, Japan and other rapidly growing Asian economies did in past decades.

Poorer countries like China need not get everything “right” to grow rapidly through exports to richer countries. They need only have some strong sectors that use world markets to fuel overall growth. Japan’s rapid growth from the 1960s-1980s was led by a highly efficient manufacturing sector. Yet at the same time Japan also had a large and inefficient service sector, and an agricultural sector that was riddled with subsidies and inefficient incentives.

Similarly, China’s economy still has a glut of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with excessive employment and low productivity. Their importance has fallen over time, but Chinese economists estimate that they still control about half of nonagricultural GDP. One crucial example is the state-controlled financial sector that makes cheap loans to other large, inefficient and unprofitable state enterprises. China’s economy also suffers from extensive price controls, restrictions on migration, and many other structural barriers to efficient growth.

Some democracies, like postwar Japan, have made the economic reforms needed for sustained economic progress. India, for example, experienced rapid growth after it began in 1991 to shed a socialist orientation and encourage private investment and private initiative. But economic progress has been swift under autocratic rule as well, including in Chile under Augusto Pinochet, Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, and Taiwan under Chang Kai-shek. Usually, however, personal freedom has grown along with rapid economic progress in autocratic governments. Chile, Taiwan and South Korea, for example, all became vibrant democracies after they’d grown rapidly for a number of years.

Something related has happened in China. The degree of personal freedom in China today is enormously greater than in 1981, when the vast majority of the population had essentially no personal freedoms. The Internet, in particular, has given hundreds of millions of Chinese access to all kinds of information, including what happens in democracies, and various criticisms of their government’s policies. The government actively tries to censor the Internet, but these censors are easily bypassed. Students and others say they readily “climb the wall” by using cheap software (appropriately, made in America) that gives them direct access to the Internet in Hong Kong and hence avoids the censors.

I do not know how soon China will evolve into a political system with competing parties, or whether China will continue to have effective leadership under its single-party structure. But as the economy continues to develop it will be impossible to prevent personal freedoms from expanding, including the freedom to criticize economic and social policies.

Global markets allow poor countries to grow rapidly for a while, but it is far more difficult to grow beyond middle-income levels. Much has been made of the fact that a month ago China’s aggregate GDP surpassed that of Japan. But all that means is China’s per capita income is about 10% of Japan’s, since China’s population is about 10 times that of Japan. Despite its great economic advances, China still has a long way to go to become a rich country.

China’s locally owned government enterprises have been more efficient than national enterprises. This is mainly because local government enterprises have to compete against each other, whereas national enterprises often receive monopoly positions. But competition among government enterprises is a partial substitute for competition among privately owned enterprises. If China wants to continue to grow rapidly it will have to reduce the scope of the SOEs, especially the national ones, and greatly expand the private sector in finance, telecommunications and many other fields.

Developing countries improve their technological base by importing technologies and knowledge developed in advanced countries. China has encouraged direct foreign investment in part to get access to the technologies of Japan, the U.S., Germany and other nations. Using technologies developed by others is still important after countries advance to middle-income levels, but these countries must then also develop more of their own technologies to advance much further.

To accomplish this transition, China has been promoting university enrollments and a growing R&D sector. University attendance in China has grown greatly since the late 1990s, propelled by rapid increases in the earnings of individuals with higher education. China is innovating more, but it is still a long way behind the U.S., Japan and other rich countries.

As for China’s currency, it’s true that the yuan is considerably undervalued due to Beijing’s continued intervention in foreign-exchange markets. But the undervalued yuan is a gift to American and other consumers outside China because it makes goods produced in China much cheaper.

In effect, China sells goods cheaply to the rest of the world and receives in return U.S. and other paper assets that pay almost no interest, and will depreciate in value when inflation rates increase in the U.S. These are the main reasons why China should move toward floating the yuan.

Many Chinese officials believe that substantial yuan appreciation will make the SOEs even less competitive, thereby increasing unemployment and social unrest as these enterprises contract. Yet an undervalued currency not only leads to a further accumulation of paper assets but also weakens the incentives of Chinese companies to cater to domestic consumption — which is remarkably weak — and to upgrade their exports to higher quality products.

There is tremendous pride and enthusiasm among Chinese regarding their economic achievements, and a growing confidence that China is returning to its great-country status of centuries ago. This is reflected in the enormous energy of its professionals, entrepreneurs and workers. It is also reflected less attractively in the more aggressive stance of China toward Japan and other neighbors.

Yet with some enlightened leadership, along with greater faith in competition and private markets, China’s prospects for continued growth — and for rapid improvements in the circumstances of the children and grandchildren of the present generation — are strong.

Mr. Becker, the 1992 Nobel economics laureate, is professor of economics at the University of Chicago and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

鸡招惹谁了,人民币又招惹谁了?

这个星期美国众议会要投票表决是否对中国产品加高额关税,如果中国不升值人民币。在中期选举的压力和美国国内高失业率下,表决很可能通过。在这个背景下,中国商务部公布了对美国鸡肉产品反倾销调查的最终方案:从美国进口的鸡肉产品将被征收50%到104%的关税。

希望这场贸易战不要再升级下去了,吃亏的只能是消费者!

AEA年会可以注册了!

服务器在down了一个星期后,今天早上终于可以注册了。要去开会的同学们抓紧了,没注册就没办法预订房间。没准儿什么时候服务器又down了。

The Great Recession ended in June 2009 according to the NBER.

The NBER said today that the recession which began in December 2007 ended in June 2009, which marked the beginning of an expansion. The announcement rules out the possibility of a so-called “double-dip” recession, because any new downturn would be seen as a brand new recession.

It is not usual to have a lag between the end of a recession and the official declaration of the end. However, a lag of more than one year like the current one is not common either. It reflects the unusual weakness of economic recovery that the US economy is experiencing right now.

”Optimal policy in open economies” for the Handbook of Monetary Economics

Corsetti刚刚放到他主页上的。有兴趣的同志可以下载。这里是链接:
 

http://www.eui.eu/Personal/corsetti/research/handbook-codele.pdf

注:大概看了一下,里面还存在不少拍板问题。不过凑合着也能看了。