CEPII, Recherche et Expertise sur l'economie mondiale
Looking for the Bright Side of the China Syndrome: Rising Export Opportunities and Life Satisfaction in China

Matthieu Crozet
Laura Hering
Sandra Poncet

 Highlights :
  • This study is part of the recent academic literature which aims at assessing the social consequences (on employment, but also on health or quality of life) of globalisation, and in particular the rise of Chinese exports.
  • We use the results of a large survey on the quality of life of nearly 25,000 Chinese to estimate the impact of export capacity growth on their life satisfaction.
  • We show that the rise in exports has had a significant impact on the well-being of local populations. This effect goes beyond income growth.
  • This positive effect is very clear for urban populations in employment, but it is also visible for other family members, even when they are not working.
  • In addition, we do not observe any negative effects on physical and mental health.

 Abstract :
China's increased export capacity in recent decades has disrupted developed-country labor markets and the well-being of workers exposed to foreign competition. We here attempt to complete the assessment of the social and human consequences of globalization by exploring the other side of this "China syndrome". We evaluate the extent to which increased export opportunities have influenced well-being in China using panel data on approximately 25,000 adults across 122 Chinese localities in 2010, 2012 and 2014. The results show that perceived life satisfaction rises significantly as local export markets grow. This effect goes beyond higher local GDP per capita and individual incomes.

 Keywords : Happiness | Well-being | Globalization | China

 JEL : F61, F66, I31, J28
CEPII Working Paper
N°2018-14, September 2018

Full text

BibTeX (with abstract),
plain text (with abstract),
RIS (with abstract)