China fact of the day

The school system in mainland China is more market-oriented (allows more consumer choice) than the school system of the world’s largest capitalist economy.

[A]s compared with parents in the United States, Chinese parents have more choice of schools for their children. They are not subject to paying a real estate tax, to finance the usually only public school available to their children. The Chinese schools are financed partly by general tax revenue and partly by tuition. There are several public and private schools available to most urban families. The schools are not obliged to accept any student below the standard they set, and thus have different academic standards. Parents have a choice of primary and secondary schools; and schools, public and private, can choose their students.

Gregory C. Chow, China’s Economic Transformation (second edition, Blackwell Publishing, 2007), p. 402.

This might explain. in part, Shanghai’s outstanding performance in PISA, the OECD’s global test of 15-year-old students’ skills in reading, maths and science. In Chinese universities, in contrast, standards are low; as a result, large numbers of graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

Gregory Chow (1929-) is professor emeritus of political economy and econometrics at Princeton University. He is best known for invention of the “Chow test”, a statistical test for structural change in a regression.

Mr Chow grew up in Guangdong province in South China, and moved with his family to Hong Kong in 1937, when the Japanese invaded China. In 1942 he and his family moved to Macao after the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. The Chow family returned to Guangdong province in 1945 and Gregory entered Lingnan University, transferring after one year to Cornell University. He went on to graduate school at the University of Chicago, where he completed an economics PhD in 1955. He taught first at MIT, then briefly at Cornell before moving to Princeton in 1970.

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