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Foreign Direct Investment and Regional Inequality in China

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  • Kailei Wei
  • Shujie Yao
  • Aying Liu

Abstract

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is blamed for being one of the main factors widening regional inequality in Chinese regions since it is highly unevenly distributed spatially. If this logic were true, then controlling the scale of FDI could be a solution to reduce regional inequality. However, it is difficult to reconcile the positive effect of FDI on economic growth with its potential "negative" effect on regional inequality. Using the largest panel dataset covering all the Chinese regions over the entire period 1979-2003 and employing an augmented Cobb-Douglas production function, this paper proves that FDI has been an important factor responsible for regional growth differences in China. However, it suggests that FDI cannot be blamed for rising regional inequality. It is the uneven distribution of FDI instead of FDI itself that has caused regional growth differences. The research results have important policy implications on regional development in China relating to FDI. Copyright © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Kailei Wei & Shujie Yao & Aying Liu, 2009. "Foreign Direct Investment and Regional Inequality in China," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 778-791, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:13:y:2009:i:4:p:778-791
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Frank Bickenbach & Wan-Hsin Liu & Peter Nunnenkamp, 2015. "Regional concentration of FDI in post-reform India: A district-level analysis," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 660-695.
    2. Lessmann, Christian, 2013. "Foreign direct investment and regional inequality: A panel data analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 129-149.
    3. Gunby, Philip & Jin, Yinghua & Robert Reed, W., 2017. "Did FDI Really Cause Chinese Economic Growth? A Meta-Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 242-255.
    4. Frank Bickenbach & Wan-Hsin Liu & Peter Nunnenkamp, 2015. "Regional concentration of FDI in post-reform India: A district-level analysis," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, pages 660-695.
    5. repec:spr:lsprsc:v:10:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s12076-017-0192-z is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Guangdong Li & Chuanglin Fang, 2014. "Analyzing the multi-mechanism of regional inequality in China," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, pages 155-182.
    7. repec:esx:essedp:729 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Breinlich, Holger & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2014. "Regional Growth and Regional Decline," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 683-779 Elsevier.
    9. Shima'a Hanafy, 2015. "Patterns of Foreign Direct Investment in Egypt—Descriptive Insights from a Novel Panel Dataset at the Governorate Level," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201512, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    10. Lessmann, Christian, 2014. "Spatial inequality and development — Is there an inverted-U relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 35-51.
    11. Liu, Kelly & Daly, Kevin & Varua, Maria Estela, 2014. "Analysing China's foreign direct investment in manufacturing from a high–low technology perspective," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 82-95.
    12. Lessmann, Christian, 2014. "Spatial inequality and development — Is there an inverted-U relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, pages 35-51.
    13. Peng Bin, 2016. "Dynamic Development of Regional Disparity in Mainland China: An Experimental Study Based on a Multidimensional Index," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(12), pages 1-28, December.
    14. repec:bla:growch:v:48:y:2017:i:3:p:459-486 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Yao, Shujie & Wang, Pan, 2014. "Has China displaced the outward investments of OECD countries?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 55-71.
    16. Tsun Se Cheong & Yanrui Wu, 2013. "Globalization and Regional Inequality," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 13-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    17. Greaney, Theresa M. & Li, Yao, 2017. "Multinational enterprises and regional inequality in China," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, pages 120-133.
    18. Ambar, Rabnawaz, 2015. "Corruption, Inequality and Economic Growth," MPRA Paper 70375, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2015.
    19. Chen, Anping & Groenewold, Nicolaas, 2013. "Does investment allocation affect the inter-regional output gap in China? A time-series investigation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 197-206.

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