China’s gradual approach to economic transition has resulted in sustained high growth. However, in recent years Chinese economists have increasingly referred to the growth pattern as “extensive,” generated mainly through the expansion of inputs. Our investigation of the Chinese economy during the reform period finds that reform measures often resulted in one-time level effects on total factor productivity (TFP). China now needs to adjust its reform program toward sustained increases in productivity. Market and ownership reforms, and open door policies have improved the conditions under which Chinese firms operate, but further institutional reforms are required to consolidate China’s move to a full-fledged market economy.