Human Capital Estimates in China: New Panel Data 1985-2010

Title: Human Capital Estimates in China: New Panel Data 1985-2010
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: September 2014

We introduce new provincial level panel data on human capital in China from 1985 to 2010. Our estimation of human capital is based on the Jorgenson–Fraumeni lifetime income approach modified to fit the Chinese data, thereby allowing a more comprehensive measurement of human capital than traditional partial measurements, such as education. Our provincial data are adjusted for purchasing power parity via a living-cost index as well as for real values so that all values are comparable across the provinces and time. We discuss various characteristics of the data, including total human capital, per capita human capital, and labor force human capital, which in turn are disaggregated based on gender and urban or rural location. Our human capital estimates are compared with the provincial physical capital estimates and provincial GDP. As an illustration, we also use the data to estimate a production function and to decompose China's economic growth from physical capital, human capital, and TFP. Our results, compared with those that use traditional specifications, reassure us as to the reliability of our new China human capital data.

Ivan Allen College Contributors:
External Contributors: Qinyi Liu, Bo Li, Barbara Fraumeni, Xiaobei Zhang

Li, Haizheng, Qinyi Liu, Bo Li, Barbara Fraumeni, and Xiaobei Zhang. "Human Capital Estimates in China: New Panel Data 1985-2010." China Economic Review 30 (2014):  397-418.

  • Applied Microeconomics
  • Chinese Economy
  • Economic Development
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Related Departments:
  • School of Economics