Working Paper Series
An Essay on Economic Reforms and Social Change in China
Abstract: This paper applies a systems-oriented, “holistic” approach
to China’s radical economic reforms during the last quarter of a century.
It characterizes China’s economic reforms in terms of a multidimensional
classification of economic systems. When looking at the economic
consequences of China’s change of economic system, I deal with both the
impressive growth performance and its economic costs. I also study the
consequences of the economic reforms for the previous social arrangements
in the country, which were tied to individual work units: agriculture
communes, collective firms and state-owned enterprises. I continue with the
social development during the reform period, reflecting a complex mix of
social advances, mainly in terms of poverty reduction, and regress for
large population groups in terms of income security and human services,
such as education and, in particular, health care. Next, I discuss Chinas
future policy options in the social field, whereby I draw heavily on
relevant experiences in developed countries over the years. The future
options are classified into three broad categories: policies influencing
the level and distribution of factor income, income transfers including
social insurance, and the provision of human services.
Keywords: China; Transition Economies; Social Insurance; Human Services; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: I18; I19; I38; O53; P30; (follow links to similar papers)
98 pages, December 6, 2006
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