This article documents a rapid shift toward services (tertiarization) of the Chinese economy since 2005, as evidenced by the significant increase in both employment and value-added shares of the service sector. Notably, our analysis reveals that a variety of measures of productivity growth have been greater in the service sector than in the manufacturing sector. Firm-level measures of dynamism corroborate this ongoing tertiarization trend, which is not limited to services used as inputs to industrial production but extends also to consumer services. These findings are robust across different growth accounting methodologies, including a recently proposed method by Fan et al. (2023) that addresses challenges associated with the measurement of quality improvements in service industries.
We construct an endogenous growth model with random interactions where firms are subject to distortions. The TFP distribution evolves endogenously as firms seek to upgrade their technology over time either by innovating or by imitating other firms. We use the model to quantify the effects of misallocation on TFP growth in emerging economies. We structurally estimate the stationary state of the dynamic model targeting moments of the empirical distribution of R&D and TFP growth in China during the period 2007–2012. The estimated model fits the Chinese data well. We compare the estimates with those obtained using data for Taiwan and perform counterfactuals to study the effect of alternative policies. R&D misallocation has a large effect on TFP growth.