Chapter 4: Quantitative Analysis and Secondary Data Sources
This chapter describes and discusses the data sources for the dependent and independent variables as employed in the two models in Chapter 5. This is done jointly here to reduce repetition because both models rely on partly the same data. 4.1 CHALLENGES IN CROSS-SECTIONAL RESEARCH Quantitative analysis on China using secondary data generally relies on three different sources, namely official sources in China, international organisations and, with respect to international investment or trade flows, the partner country. All of these sources, however, have their shortcomings which need to be considered by the researcher and addressed where possible. Chinese government agencies publish a wide range of statistical yearbooks covering, among other things, international trade and foreign direct investment. The available data are often constrained by five factors. First, a legal and operational definition of particular items of data is often missing (Shenkar 1994) or, if set out, tends not to be permanent. Classifications and data collection methods are often changed over time with little, if any, retrospective adjustment of the data concerned (Sinton 2001). The latter especially compromises longitudinal research of a quantitative type. Second, sub-national institutions in China generally have some freedom in creating statistics which they report to their superiors. This causes incoherence in data coverage and compromises, again, longitudinal and inter-province research (Shenkar 1994; Holz 2004; Xu 2004). The most prominent Chinese statistic constantly under criticism for faulty sub-national reporting is China’s gross domestic product (e.g. Rawski 2002). Having said that, and importantly for this study, the most...
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