Local Granaries and Central Government Disaster Relief: Moral Hazard and Intergovernmental Finance in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century China
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Chinese state attempted to administer famine relief partly through a nationwide institution of local granaries. This article explores regional variations in the performance of this institution to understand the reasons for its ultimate breakdown. The evidence suggests granary storage levels were systematically lower in provinces that received more frequent central government disaster relief; and an unintended consequence of disaster relief was that it modified local incentives for self-insurance and led to an incompletely resolved moral-hazard problem. China s experience provides an instructive example of the long-term dynamics present in intergovernmental policies.
Volume (Year): 64 (2004)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
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