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CEP discussion paper
Why Has China Grown So Fast? The Role of International Technology Transfer
John Van Reenen and Linda Yueh
February 2012
Paper No' CEPDP1121:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: O32; O33

Tags: china; technology transfer; joint ventures; productivity

Chinese economic growth has been spectacular in the last 30 years. We investigate the role of International Joint Ventures with Technology Transfer agreements, an understudied area. Technology transfer is the traditional mechanism for developing countries to “catch up” and has been a key component of Chinese economic policy. We collect original survey data on Chinese firms and their joint ventures and match this to administrative data on firm performance. To identify the causal effect of joint ventures we use time-varying and province-specific policies at the time when a firm was born. International joint ventures have large effects on productivity especially when combined with a technology transfer component. We estimate that without International joint ventures China’s growth would have been about one percentage point lower per annum over the last three decades.