Not only are there missing links on the causality chai

 between long-term structural factors and actual economic performance, it is also unclear how long those factors would take to constrain GDP growth to a part

cular level. In fact, 20 years ago, the same long-term factors were used to warn of a possible fall in Chinese GDP growth.

Because of the complexity of China’s growth trajectory, many economists seem to base their assessments of potenti

al on performance. After every drop in China’s GDP growth since the second quarter of 2012-when growth fell be

low 8 percent-economists have emerged to declare that performance was in line with potential.

Difficult to determine potential growth rate

To be sure, there are various estimates of China’s potential growth rate, ranging from 5 perc

ent to 8 percent. But it is difficult to determine which is reliable. For one thing, there is reason to believe that

most estimates fail to discount cyclical factors adequately when calculating the long-term trend.