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China’s Pledge to Lift Consumption Sparks Debate on Cash Handouts

  • Government has provided limited details on how to boost demand
  • Cash handouts most immediate way to boost spending, some say
The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. 

The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. 

Photographer: Feng Li/Getty Images
Updated on

China’s policymakers have made it a top priority to boost consumption in the economy in 2023, yet beyond broad pledges, they’ve provided little detail on specific steps to achieve that goal. 

Unlike in the US and elsewhere, China is shunning the stimulus checks and consumer subsidies that fueled post-pandemic recoveries in those economies. The government’s support has focused mainly on helping businesses cope with the slump and preserve jobs, fearing free cash may give rise to welfare dependency and lower productivity.