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Can Cultural Affinity Promote Trade? HSK Test Data from the Belt and Road Countries
2018-05-08 14:05:00

China & World Economy / 109–126, Vol. 26, No. 3, 2018


Can Cultural Affinity Promote Trade?
HSK Test Data from the Belt and Road Countries

Mengjun Xie*


Abstract

As Chinese culture is “going out,” more and more non-native Chinese speakers are beginning to study Mandarin and are taking the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) test. Mandarin has become a very important trade language for the Belt and Road countries. This paper uses the difference-in-difference model and the Mahalanobis distance and the nearest neighbor distance matching methods to study the internal relationship between culture “going out” and foreign trade. We find that cultural affinity is an important factor in promoting trade, and that the HSK project has expanded China’s exports to the Belt and Road countries. Culture’s exportation growth effect in Asia is stronger than that in Europe. Culture’s exportation growth effect shows the characteristics of regional differences, a time-lag and a fluctuating upward trend. Therefore, further enhancing the international influence of its culture would help China to find a new source of export growth.


Key words: Belt and Road Initiative, difference-in-difference model, export, HSK
JEL codes: E61, F15, F41