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July/August 2009, 
Vol. 91, No. 4
Posted 2009-07-01

Potential Output in a Rapidly Developing Economy: The Case of China and a Comparison with the United States and the European Union

by Jinghai Zheng, Angang Hu, and Arne Bigsten

The authors use a growth accounting framework to examine growth of the rapidly developing Chinese economy. Their findings support the view that, although feasible in the intermediate term, China’s recent pattern of extensive growth is not sustainable in the long run. The authors believe that China will be able to sustain a growth rate of 8 to 9 percent for an extended period if it moves from extensive to intensive growth. They next compare potential growth in China with historical developments in the United States and the European Union. They discuss the differences in production structure and level of development across the three economies that may explain the countries’ varied intermediate-term growth prospects. Finally, the authors provide an analysis of “green” gross domestic product and the role of natural resources in China’s growth.