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High corruption income in Ming and Qing China

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  • Ni, Shawn
  • Van, Pham Hoang

Abstract

We develop an economic model that explains historical data on government corruption in Ming and Qing China. In our model, officials extensive powers result in corrupt income matching lands share in output. We estimate corrupt income to be between 14 to 22 times official income resulting in about 22% of agricultural output accruing to 0.4% of the population. The results suggest that eliminating corruption through salary reform was possible in early Ming but impossible by mid-Qing rule. Land reform may also be ineffective because officials could extract the same rents regardless of ownership. High officials incomes and the resulting inequality may have also created distortions and barriers to change that could have contributed to Chinas stagnation over the five centuries 1400-1900s.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 81 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Pages: 316-336

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:81:y:2006:i:2:p:316-336

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Cited by:
  1. Van-Ha Le & Jakob de Haan & Erik Dietzenbacher, 2013. "Do Higher Government Wages Reduce Corruption? Evidence Based on a Novel Dataset," CESifo Working Paper Series 4254, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Tuan-Hwee Sng & Chiaki Moriguchi, 2013. "Taxation and Public Goods Provision in China and Japan before 1850," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd12-284, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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