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Geography, Economic Policy, and Regional Development in China

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  • Sylvie Démurger

    (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Dévelopment international (CERDI))

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs

    (Center for International Devlopment (CID) Harvard University)

  • Wing Thye Woo

    (Economics Department University of California, Davis)

  • Shuming Bao

    (China Data Center University of Michigan)

  • Gene Chang

    (Economics Department University of Toledo)

  • Andrew Mellinger

    (Center for International Development Harvard University)

Abstract

Many studies of regional disparity in China have focused on the preferential policies received by the coastal provinces. We decomposed the location dummies in provincial growth regressions to obtain estimates of the effects of geography and policy on provincial growth rates in 1996-99. Their respective contributions in percentage points were 2.5 and 3.5 for the province-level metropolises, 0.6 and 2.3 for the northeastern provinces, 2.8 and 2.8 for the coastal provinces, 2.0 and 1.6 for the central provinces, 0 and 1.6 for the northwestern provinces, and 0.1 and 1.8 for the southwestern provinces. Because the so-called preferential policies are largely deregulation policies that have allowed coastal Chinese provinces to integrate into the international economy, it is far superior to reduce regional disparity by extending these deregulation policies to the interior provinces than by re-regulating the coastal provinces. Two additional inhibitions to income convergence are the household registration system, which makes the movement of the rural poor to prosperous areas illegal, and the monopoly state bank system that, because of its bureaucratic nature, disburses most of its funds to its large traditional customers, few of whom are located in the western provinces. Improving infrastructure to overcome geographic barriers is fundamental to increasing western growth, but increasing human capital formation (education and medical care) is also crucial because only it can come up with new better ideas to solve centuries-old problems like unbalanced growth. Copyright (c) 2002 Center for International Development and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Asian Economic Papers.

Volume (Year): 1 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 146-197

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:asiaec:v:1:y:2002:i:1:p:146-197

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  1. Tianlun Jian & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1996. "Trends in Regional Inequality in China," NBER Working Papers 5412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 2001. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," CEMA Working Papers 58, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  3. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  4. Hong Li & Zinan Liu & Ivonia Rebelo, 1998. "Testing the Neoclassical Theory of Economic Growth: Evidence from Chinese Provinces," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 117-132, May.
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  16. Bao, Shuming & Chang, Gene Hsin & Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Woo, Wing Thye, 2002. "Geographic factors and China's regional development under market reforms, 1978-1998," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 89-111.
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