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Economic Growth Mode of Ancient China: A Research Based on the Ming Dynasty(1402-1626)
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TitleEconomic Growth Mode of Ancient China: A Research Based on the Ming Dynasty(1402-1626)  
AuthorGuan Hanhui ;David Daokui Li  
OrganizationSchool of Economics Peking University; School of Economics and Management,Tsinghua University,  
Key Wordsthe Ming Dynasty Economic Development TFP  
AbstractBased on estimation about major macroeconomic variables of the Chinese Ming Dynasty, this article tries to analyze its economic development and efficiency evolvement, thereby research economic growth mode of ancient China and its distinction with modern economy. Using data about output, land and labor in the Ming Dynasty, also calculating capital associating other scholar’s findings on capital-output ratio and capital depreciation rate with total surplus in the Ming Dynasty, we have studied elasticity of factor to output, evolvement of TFP, and then we decomposed economic growth, probed into the cause of slowdown of TFP and economic development in the last two phases of the Ming Dynasty. Empirical results show that the elasticity of land and labor to output are 57% and 36% respectively, the elasticity of capital to output is no less than 3%; TFP in first phase is 4.6 percent higher than in second phase, in last phase it is 2.2 percent lower than in second phase; Decomposition of economic growth indicates that the increases of land and labor account for most economic growth. The empirical result of diminishing returns to scale of the Ming Dynasty’s economy have provided evidence for the view some historians held that there being bad government administration performance in the Ming Dynasty. The low elasticity of capital-output ratio shows that there are remarkable differences between the Ming Dynasty and modern economy, at that time the principal restrictions of economic development are labor and land, and the effects of capital is very little, implying a slow pace of techniques improvement. The causes of slowdown of TFP in the last two phases possibly include that high tax revenue depresses the efficiency of agriculture; most government revenue is used in military expenditure, seignior’s payment and construction of Emperor’s Palace and Tomb, constructions of infrastructure are seriously scarce; government’s regulation and robbing on handcrafts and business disturb economic order and so on. The research about the Ming Dynasty has strong universality on understanding ancient economy of China.  
Serial NumberWP2 
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