El potencial de crecimiento que China no explota

SHANGÁI – La desaceleración económica de China, que pasó de un aumento de casi el 10 % de su producto en 2007 a uno de menos del 8 % en la actualidad, ha alimentado una generalizada especulación sobre el potencial de crecimiento de su economía. Si bien es imposible predecir la trayectoria del futuro crecimiento chino, entender las tendencias subyacentes de la economía constituye la mejor manera para derivar una estimación significativa.

Mientras que la demanda de corto plazo dicta en gran medida la tasa de crecimiento real de una economía, su tasa de crecimiento potencial se determina del lado de la oferta. Algunos economistas –que citan indicadores como las ratios de inversión, el valor agregado industrial y el empleo– comparan a China con el Japón de principios de la década de 1970. Después de más de dos décadas de rápido y sostenido crecimiento, la economía japonesa decayó considerablemente en 1971, en lo que fue el comienzo de cuatro décadas con tasas de crecimiento anual promedio de menos del 4 %.

Esta correlación se ve reforzada por la hipótesis de la convergencia –la teoría de referencia para estimar la tasa de crecimiento potencial de una economía– que afirma que el crecimiento real de una economía en desarrollo con rápidos progresos se reducirá cuando alcance una cierta proporción del acervo de capital y el ingreso per cápita de una economía avanzada. Según los economistas Barry Eichengreen, Donghyun Park y Kwanho Shin, esa proporción es aproximadamente el 60 % del ingreso per cápita estadounidense (a precios internacionales de 2005).

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