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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

An image of a Chinese city

Fiscal Policy and Income Distribution in China

Since China introduced far-reaching economic reforms in 1978, it has experienced rapid economic growth and social development that has significantly improved the overall well-being of the Chinese population and lifted an enormous number of people out of poverty. But at the same time, income inequality in China has increased dramatically over the past three decades, and there is a significant divide between urban and rural areas as well as between regions.

A construction worker at an unfinished building in China. Curt Carnemark, World Bank photo.

With a Debt Crisis Looming, Researchers Who Estimated China’s “Hidden” Lending Respond to Their Critics

Last year, economists Sebastian Horn, Carmen Reinhart, and Christoph Trebesch put forward estimates of the Chinese government’s external (“overseas”) lending in a working paper. Their work was a landmark effort in a number of respects. Perhaps not surprisingly for a working paper, Horn et al. also attracted critics. In a new note for CGD, Horn et al. respond to this criticism.

A stock photo of a see-through piggy bank. Adobe Stock.

A Reckoning for China’s Opaque Overseas Lending

We are so accustomed to the Chinese government’s lack of transparency that the opaqueness of China’s overseas loans seems unremarkable at this point. But as we face what inevitably looks like a global debt crisis, one that is likely to hit low-income countries particularly hard, a clear accounting of the scale of the problem is critical. 

A worker working on wood floors in a factory in Zhejiang, China. Photo by ILO, via Flickr

COVID-19’s Impact on China’s Small and Medium-sized Businesses

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in Nov. 2019 in Hubei Province, China, business activity in the world’s second-largest economy has ground to a halt. China’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which generate 90% of employment, constitute 80% of exports, and account for 70% of GDP, have been hit particularly hard.

Chart showing falling US pledges to IDA and rising Chinese pledges to IDA

The US and China Have Very Different Takes on IDA and the Global Fund: Why that Matters for the Future of Multilateral Aid

When it comes to the United States, the reality is that the Global Fund is winning the fundraising game hands down. China, meanwhile, doubled its contribution to IDA—contrast that with the country’s longstanding indifference to the Global Fund. Clearly the world’s most important emerging donor views the multilateral architecture differently than the world’s most important traditional donor does.

Photo of the development leaders conference in Beijing

Fostering Development Cooperation: A Development Leaders Conference

How can the development community truly harness the power of this cooperation and come together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? Last month, the Center for Global Development again hosted the Development Leaders Conference, this time in Beijing in partnership with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Adobe Stock image of a pile of coins with a rising bar graph overlaid

HIPC with Chinese Characteristics: Why Yesterday’s Debt Relief Is the Wrong Point of Reference for Today’s Crises

Concerns about rising debt risks in developing economies were front and center at the annual meetings. HIPC is a useful reference point as we talk about a new round of debt crises. But thanks to the rise of China as a lender, the creditor community today looks much different from the HIPC creditor community—with implications for any resolution to a debt crisis.

An industrial welder at work. Adobe Stock

Netflix’s “American Factory” and the New Geography of Manufacturing

Perhaps the most surprising was how similar these scenes playing out in America are to those I’ve seen in Africa. To be sure, many of the factories I visited in Africa were smaller-scale and simpler in their operations than the Ohio glass plant in American Factory. But some Chinese-owned factories in Africa are similarly large-scale and technologically advanced, and no matter the size of the factory, I witnessed many of the same struggles to find cross-cultural understanding, to teach workers genuinely difficult skills, and to withstand the pressure of a highly competitive, global industry.

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