Economic and environmental convergence of transformation economy: the case of China

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Rapid economic reforms and proper GDP growth in China has affected the regional development of Chinese provinces. This study aims to estimate the degree of economic and environmental disparities within Chinese provinces for developing policy recommendations of regional transformation. The reduced log-linear specification of endogenous growth model is used for the estimation of convergence rates within Chinese provinces. The empirical results prove that an increase of 1% in GDP per capita basic year reduces the economic growth rate by 0.1% in the reference year. Thus, the ratio of the average per capita income in the wealthiest group to poorest provinces accounted for the factor 9.6 in 1995 and factor 4.1 in the year 2015, which means a reduction of disproportionate development. Environmental convergence trends were also found and less polluted provinces eventually increase emissions at higher rates than the initially polluted ones. With the pass of time, all provinces do move to the same steady state in environmental parameters. The speed of the economic and environmental convergence in China provinces is rather slow, and the economic growth was achieved by great sacrifices of an environment, since all provinces are striving to the same steady state in terms of pollution increase. The industrialized regions due to the presence of significant financial resources should pay more attention to the protection of the environment using all the available economic potential. At the same time, both initially poor provinces and rich have to develop more profoundly agriculture, tourism, recreation, and other environmentally friendly industries to improve economic performance.

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    • Figure 1. The logarithmic GDP of Chinese regions in 1995 and 2015 (real prices of 1995)
    • Table 1. The results of macroeconomic instability impact and globalization level on the economic and environmental convergence