Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Are intergovernmental transfers in China equalizing?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Huang, Bihong
  • Chen, Kang
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    Since 1994, China's central government has implemented a sequence of fiscal recentralization measures to increase its equalization capacity and reduce regional income disparities. However, the effect of intergovernmental transfers on equalization has been called into question by anecdotal evidence that seems to suggest that transfers from the center are not rule-based and are subject to heavy rent-seeking. Unlike past studies, which have focused on the equalization effects of total fiscal transfers from the center, this paper includes an examination of the equalization effects of different types of transfers because some transfers, which are inherently anti-equalizing, may mask the equalization effects of other types of transfers when they are lumped together to find the “average” effect. Using inequality measures, a decomposition of fiscal disparities, and dynamic panel data models, we find that China's intergovernmental transfer system that was established in 1994 does have some equalizing elements. To a large extent, these elements exist due to the mechanism designed to shrink the tax rebates that bear the legacy of the pre-1994 system; to a small extent, these elements exist due to the rule-based general-purpose transfer whose share in total transfers remains small but has increased since 2002. However, the equalization effects of the largest component of transfers, specific-purpose transfers, are anti-equalizing. They are typically not rule-based and thus subject to political influence. As a result, total transfers also exhibit significant anti-equalization effects.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1043951X12000028
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 23 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 534-551

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:3:p:534-551

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

    Related research

    Keywords: Fiscal disparities; Intergovernmental transfers; Equalizing; Political influence;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Grossman, Philip J, 1994. " A Political Theory of Intergovernmental Grants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 78(3-4), pages 295-303, March.
    2. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Toward More Effective Redistribution: Reform Options for Intergovernmental Transfers in China," IMF Working Papers 04/98, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
    4. John Knight & Li Shi, 1999. "Fiscal decentralization: Incentives, redistribution and reform in China," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 5-32.
    5. Zhang, Xiaobo, 2006. "Fiscal decentralization and political centralization in China: Implications for growth and inequality," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 713-726, December.
    6. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
    7. Tsui, Kai-yuen, 2005. "Local tax system, intergovernmental transfers and China's local fiscal disparities," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 173-196, March.
    8. Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
    9. Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
    10. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
    11. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1998. "Fiscal federalism and redistributive politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 153-180, May.
    12. Zhihua Zhang & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2003. "The System of Equalization Transfers in China," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0312, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    13. Chen, Kang, 2004. "Fiscal centralization and the form of corruption in China," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 1001-1009, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Song, Yang, 2013. "Rising Chinese regional income inequality: The role of fiscal decentralization," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 294-309.
    2. Yingxin Shi & Mototsugu Fukushige, 2013. "Long-Run Fiscal Multiplier for Autonomous Prefectures in China," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-10, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    3. Masayoshi Hayashi, 2013. "On the Decomposition of Regional Stabilization and Redistribution," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-910, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:3:p:534-551. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.