The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper uses the standard one-sector neoclassical growth model to investigate why China's consumption has been low and investment high. It finds that the low cost of capital has been quantitatively an important factor. Theory predicts that the price of capital may have been significantly distorted in the 1990s and 2000s. The distortion could have been caused by nonperforming loans, borrowing constraints, and uncertainty over changes in government guidance in bank lending. If China is to rebalance growth towards relying more on consumption and less on exports and investment, banking sector reforms and financial market development could, therefore, turn out to be key.