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China Confronts the Middle-Income Trap

While China obviously needs to boost private-sector confidence and revive growth with a more sustainable economic model, it is not clear that Chinese leaders fully appreciate the challenges they face. The shift back to state capitalism over the last decade is plainly incompatible with President Xi Jinping’s development goals.

NEW YORK – At this year’s China Development Forum (the highest-level annual meeting between senior Chinese policymakers and top CEOs, current and former policymakers, and academics like me), the discussion focused squarely on the risk of China falling into the dreaded “middle-income trap.” After all, few emerging economies have successfully joined the ranks of high-income countries.