Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

How Much Can Regional Integration Do to Unify China's Markets?

Trade and Migration

Much of the current literature portrays China as a group of insufficiently specialized regional economies, meaning that national economic integration is low. This paper challenges this portrayal by examining data that show inter-provincial trade in 1992 was in fact large. Comparative analysis also suggests that China behaves much more like a single country than a close-knit international trading bloc. Moreover, comparisons with 1987 demonstrate that the growth of inter-provincial trade in 1987-92 exceeded that of provincial GDP and foreign trade during the same period. The results indicate, however, that trade is dominated by intra-industry trade in manufactured goods. Data deficiencies prevent firm conclusions, but the impression persists that significant barriers still exist to the movement of factors of production, and to trade in services and intermediate goods.

58wp.pdf (278.48 KB)
Barry Naughton
Publication Date
August, 2000