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Fiscal Decentralization, Chinese Style: Good for Health Outcomes?

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  • Jütting, Johannes P.
  • Uchimura, Hiroko

Abstract

This study analyzes the effect of fiscal decentralization on health outcomes in China using a panel data set with nationwide county-level data. We find that counties in more fiscal decentralized provinces have lower infant mortality rates compared with those counties in which the provincial government retains the main spending authority, if certain conditions are met. Spending responsibilities at the local level need to be matched with county government?s own fiscal capacity. For those local governments that have only limited revenues, their ability to spend on local public goods such as health care depends crucially upon intergovernmental transfers. The findings of this study thereby support the common assertion that fiscal decentralization can indeed lead to more efficient production of local public goods, but also highlights the necessary conditions to make this happen. --

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Göttingen 2007 with number 16.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec07:6539

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  1. Jing Jin & Heng-fu Zou, 2005. "Fiscal decentralization, revenue and expenditure assignments, and growth in China," CEMA Working Papers 212, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  3. Bird, Richard M., 1993. "Threading the Fiscal Labyrinth: Some Issues in Fiscal Decentralization," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 207-27, June Cita.
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  5. de Mello, Luiz Jr, 2000. "Fiscal Decentralization and Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations: A Cross-Country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 365-380, February.
  6. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Baoyun Qiao & Shuilin Wang & Heng-fu Zou, 2008. "Expenditure Assignments in China: Challenges and Policy Options, Public Finance," CEMA Working Papers 329, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  7. Emanuele Baldacci & Maria Teresa Guin-Siu & Luiz De Mello, 2003. "More on the effectiveness of public spending on health care and education: a covariance structure model," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(6), pages 709-725.
  8. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1999. "The impact of public spending on health: does money matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 49(10), pages 1309-1323, November.
  9. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
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  12. International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Toward More Effective Redistribution: Reform Options for Intergovernmental Transfers in China," IMF Working Papers 04/98, International Monetary Fund.
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  14. Era Dabla-Norris, 2005. "Issues in Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations in China," IMF Working Papers 05/30, International Monetary Fund.
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Cited by:
  1. Wu, Alfred M. & Wang, Wen, 2013. "Determinants of Expenditure Decentralization: Evidence from China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 176-184.
  2. Jiménez-Rubio, Dolores, 2011. "The impact of fiscal decentralization on infant mortality rates: Evidence from OECD countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(9), pages 1401-1407.

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