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An American specialist on the economy of China assesses the options and obstacles the country's new leadership will face as it attempts to sustain the current economic growth trajectory in the future. Putting the current situation in historical context, the author first reviews the reforms leading up to the agenda advanced by the previous leadership team (led by Hu Jintao) and then examines the health of China's economy in late 2012 (a situation she argues is characterized by the exhaustion of three key drivers of growth). The paper advances the thesis that further reforms and improvements in technology will be essential to sustained growth, and that additional reforms will be necessary before sustained innovation can take root. As signs of successful further reform going forward, readers are advised to look to increased private-sector legitimacy, a decline in state-sector monopoly power, and strengthening of legal foundations for reform policies.


Manuscript version of an article published in:

Prime, P. B. (2012). Sustaining China’s Economic Growth: New Leaders, New Directions? Eurasian Geography and Economics, 53(6), 688–701.