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20 - The Chinese Economy in the Reform Era

from Part II - 1950 to the Present

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 February 2022

Debin Ma
Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo
Richard von Glahn
University of California, Los Angeles
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December 1978 was a political, economic and social turning point for China. As the balance of power within the top leadership shifted, a search for new policies began that deepened into what came to be called “reform and opening” and culminated decades later in a multistranded transition to a market-based economy. This new policy orientation was accompanied by a shift in development strategy that permitted China to take advantage of its factor endowments and structural conditions and dramatically accelerate economic growth. Thus 1978 marks not only the beginning of “reform,” but also the start of the Chinese “economic miracle,” a remarkable thirty-two-year period, through 2010, during which GDP grew at an annual rate of 10 percent. Chinese economic structure and Chinese society were utterly transformed. An extraordinary distance separates the vibrant upper-middle-income, predominantly market-based, economy that is China today from the troubled, isolated low-income country that was China at the end of the Cultural Revolution. This chapter builds its narrative around the systemic and structural changes that transformed China, especially in the thirty years between 1978 and 2008.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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Further Reading

Brandt, L., and Rawski, T. (eds.), China’s Great Economic Transformation (New York, Cambridge University Press, 2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Byrd, W.A., China’s Rural Industry: Structure, Development, and Reform (Washington, DC, World Bank, with Oxford University Press, 1990).Google Scholar
Jinhua, Chen 陈锦华, 国事忆述 (The Eventful Years) (Beijing, Zhonggong Dangshi, 2005).Google Scholar
Runsheng, Du 杜润生 (ed.), 中国农村改革决策纪实 (A Virtual Record of China’s Rural Reform Policy) (Beijing, Zhongyang Wenxian, 1998), pp. 8097.Google Scholar
Enright, M.J., Developing China: The Remarkable Impact of Foreign Direct Investment (Abingdon, Routledge, 2016).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Langqing, Li, Breaking Through: The Birth of China’s Opening-up Policy (Hong Kong, Oxford University Press, 2010).Google Scholar
Naughton, B., Growing Out of the Plan: Chinese Economic Reform, 1978–1993 (New York, Cambridge University Press, 1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Naughton, B., The Chinese Economy: Adaptation and Growth, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2018).Google Scholar
Y., Qian, How Reform Worked in China: The Transition from Plan to Market (Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2017).Google Scholar
Yitao, Tao 陶一桃 and Zhiguo, 鲁志国 (eds.), 中国经济特区史论 (A Historical Treatise on China’s Special Economic Zones) (Beijing, Shehui Kexue Wenxian, 2008).Google Scholar
Vogel, E., Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2011).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Walter, C., and F., J.T. Howie. Red Capitalism: The fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise (Singapore: Wiley & Sons (Asia), 2011).Google Scholar
Jinglian, Wu, Wu Jinglian: Voice of Reform in China (ed. Naughton), Barry (Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2013).Google Scholar
Guangyuan, Yu 于光远, 1978: 我亲历的那次历史大转折 (1978: The Historic Turning Point That I Experienced), reprint ed. (Hong Kong, Tiandi, 2008).Google Scholar
Ziyang, Zhao, Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang (New York, Simon & Schuster, 2009).Google Scholar

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