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Output per worker in China tripled within the span of a generation. Productivity gains came from the introduction of the household responsibility system, the restructuring of state-owned enterprises, and the influx of foreign direct investment. Just as Arthur Lewis predicts, China’s productivity growth came with a high savings rate, rising from 30 percent of GDP in 1980 to 53 percent of GDP in 2007. Most of these savings, predominantly from corporations and wealthy individuals, were invested in the Chinese economy. While many have criticized China for its build-up of foreign reserves, it seems to have been due to absorption constraints, that is, the inability to absorb a large influx of foreign exchange in its entirety, as often is the case for resource-rich countries.
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