After China’s party congress, is there hope of better policymaking?

When china’s communist party reveals the 25 members of its new Politburo later this month, investors will be watching closely. The line-up should offer clues about who will take charge of the country’s economic policymaking. But how useful is this exercise? Suppose investors did discover the names on China’s next economic team sheet. What could they reliably infer about China’s policies and performance from its personnel?

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Looking back can illustrate the pitfalls of looking forward. Over the past ten years Xi Jinping, China’s president, has given big economic roles to a number of respected reformers. The list includes Liu He, the president’s closest economic adviser; Lou Jiwei, his first finance minister; and Zhou Xiaochuan, who stayed on as governor of the central bank until 2018, exceeding the…

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