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We are digitalizing Chinese local-county-level and city-level gazetteers and creating a socioeconomic database that will be updated yearly for researchers on Chinese studies. This pioneering project will create a big data set with 2,000 counties/cities, 65 years and 120 variables each.
We hope to share the database with researchers from all over the world for economic and social research.
With the comprehensive county-level data from local gazetteers, researchers are able to cross-check data provided by National Bureau of Statistics of China.
Local gazetteers provide detailed yearly data, including industrial production by sector and agricultural production by category of crops. Furthermore, gazetteers document schooling and health data carefully, which enable researchers to fully evaluate policy reform and long-term economic outcomes.
Extension of time horizon is a very important contribution in sociology and economics. Current available county-level data starts from 1997. Our research project enables us to trace data back to 1912 for some counties and to 1949 for most counties. Enormous research opportunities will be provided with the new data.