You are here

Shitayashiki, "How China's economic reform changed domestic circumstances for exports during the 1980s," 1998

USC thesis in Political Science.
August 24, 2009

Kaori Shitaayashiki, M.A

Abstract (Summary)

China's exports increased tenfold in ten years during the 1980s owing to the reform policy. Victorious over Hua Guofeng and his policy initiative, the reformists led by Deng Xiaoping and Chen Yun introduced a shift from the excessive emphasis on heavy industry to a greater focus on light industry, the household responsibility system in the rural areas and decentralization, all of which resulted in favorable circumstances for the collective sector to become the most efficient sector in manufacturing products for export.

The collective sector was superior to the state sector in its growth. Although the state sector did grow, it produced heavy industrial products which were not competitive in foreign markets, whereas the collective sector mainly engaged in light industry, especially the textile industry, with the latter occupying one-third of total exports by the end of the 1980s.

Given more autonomy, the collective enterprises became more flexible and quickly responded to the demands of the market, thus becoming crucial in the growth of exports in the 1980s.

Advisor: Rosen, Stanley