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China Confronts a New Normal of Lower Growth

A Chinese scholar gestures while a colleague looks on
Credits: 
May 17 2016

China’s economy may be cooling off, but the country’s workers are still benefiting from its tremendous surge.

Average Chinese incomes have increased tenfold over the past two decades, rising from $800 in 1995 to $8,000 in 2015.

“This is a story of catching up,” Yingyi Qian said to a Stanford audience. “And a slowdown is inevitable. It is a universal law of economics.”

Following decades of growth rates routinely in the double digits, lower growth rates around 6 to 7 percent appear here to stay, said Qian, who is the dean of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University.

Qian was joined by Hongbin Cai, dean of the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, in a May 9 event hosted by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Qian and Cai spoke on key issues in China today, including the questionable validity of Chinese statistics, promising anti-corruption campaigns, and worrisome air pollution — issues that have been studied by scholars at SIEPR and the Stanford Center for International Development.

Watch the event and listen to the full remarks from Qian and Cai.