Munich Personal RePEc Archive

State capacity and leadership: Why did China take off?

Zhou, Haiwen (2022): State capacity and leadership: Why did China take off?

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For a large economy trying to achieve industrialization, it needs to develop indigenous technological capacities to make growth sustainable. Industrialization can be challenging to achieve because it might be difficult to develop technologies without changing culture and political institutions which are useful to maintain ruling. Rulers in ancient China choose institutions to prevent internal rebellions. Industrialization was a new goal for the Qing government in the 19th century, and previous institutions were not designed to handle this issue. China’s high growth rates after 1978 resulted from internal reforms to increase efficiency and external openness to absorb foreign capital, knowledge, and technologies. China’s state capacity and leadership supported developing technological capacities in the catch-up process.

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