Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Minh Q. Dao


East Asia has a remarkable record of high and sustained economic growth. From 1965 to 1990 the twenty-three economies of East Asia grew faster than all other regions of the world (World Bank 1993). Most of this achievement is attributable to seemingly miraculous growth in just eight economies: Japan; the "Four Tigers"--Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan; and the three newly industrializing economies (NIEs) of Southeast Asia--Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. The success of these eight high performing Asian economies (HPAEs) in achieving rapid and equitable growth broadens our understanding of the range of policies that are consistent with rapid development. East Asia's experience has influenced many nations to rethink how they ought to go about achieving economic development. The purpose of this study is to examine how some factors which lead to East Asia's success may have affected the economic growth in China and if so their magnitude.

This study begins with the hypothesis that domestic investment, human capital, government expenditures on infrastructure, net exports and the free market system will have a significant positive impact on China's economic growth, while population growth will have a negative impact on China's economic growth. The method applied to this research introduces two dummy variables to capture the effect of a free market system on economic growth and that of birth control policy on population growth. The overall findings do indeed suggest that domestic investment, government expenditure and net exports have a positive impact on China's economic growth. However, the presence of multicollinearity raises some doubt concerning the reliability of the estimates. Also, a better indicator may be used in place of the primary graduates as a percentage of the total population as a proxy for education attainment, since, theoretically, education should maintain a strong and significant relationship with economic growth. The unusual results may very well be due to the unreliability and unstable nature of the data on the primary school graduates as a percentage of the total population. In the future, availability of more consistent and reliable data on each variable may be helpful in testing the models developed in this project.