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Bureaucratic integration and regional specialization in China

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  • Bai, Chong-En
  • Tao, Zhigang
  • Tong, Yueting Sarah

Abstract

Fiscal decentralization introduced as part of China's economic reform since 1979 has unleashed strong incentives for China's local governments to pursue economic development, but the same incentives have also led to local protectionist policies inhibiting the process of regional specialization. This paper focuses on the constraints or freedom with which local governments can implement their protectionist policies. Using a panel data of 29 China's regions over the time period of 1985-1997, we find that China's political system of bureaucratic integration (specifically, concurrent appointment of local government officials in the central government) imposes constraints on the local governments from practicing protectionism. We also find that the effectiveness of local protectionist policies is limited by market competition, specifically, competition from foreign-invested firms operating in China and foreign imports. Our results on the role of local protectionism remain robust to controls for the regional variations in the size of the economy and the stage of economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Bai, Chong-En & Tao, Zhigang & Tong, Yueting Sarah, 2008. "Bureaucratic integration and regional specialization in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 308-319, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:19:y:2008:i:2:p:308-319
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    Cited by:

    1. Jia, Junxue & Guo, Qingwang & Zhang, Jing, 2014. "Fiscal decentralization and local expenditure policy in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 107-122.
    2. Long, Cheryl Xiaoning & Wang, Jun, 2015. "Judicial local protectionism in China: An empirical study of IP cases," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 48-59.
    3. Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten & Libman, Alexander & Xiaofan, Yu, 2010. "State and market integration in China: A spatial econometrics approach to 'local protectionism'," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 137, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    4. Wei Tang & Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, 2017. "Do city–county mergers in China promote local economic development?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 25(3), pages 439-469, July.
    5. Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten & Libman, Alexander & Yu, Xiaofan, 2014. "Economic integration in China: Politics and culture," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 470-492.
    6. Changqi Wu & Zhicheng Liu, 2012. "A Tiger Without Teeth? Regulation of Administrative Monopoly Under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 41(1), pages 133-155, August.
    7. Li, Lixing, 2011. "The incentive role of creating "cities" in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 172-181, March.
    8. Peixin Li & Chen Wang & Xueliang Zhang, 2017. "Did city cluster development help improve labor productivity in China?," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 122-135, January.
    9. Changyuan Luo & Jun Zhang, 2010. "China Trade Policy Review: A Political Economy Approach," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(11), pages 1390-1413, November.
    10. Wieland, Thomas, 2019. "REAT: A Regional Economic Analysis Toolbox for R," REGION, European Regional Science Association, vol. 6, pages 1-57.
    11. Alfred M Wu, 2019. "The logic of basic education provision and public goods preferences in Chinese fiscal federalism," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(12), pages 1-15, December.
    12. He, Qing & Liu, Junyi & Xue, Chang & Zhou, Shaojie, 2020. "Bureaucratic integration and synchronization of regional economic growth: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    13. Blanc-Brude, Frédéric & Cookson, Graham & Piesse, Jenifer & Strange, Roger, 2014. "The FDI location decision: Distance and the effects of spatial dependence," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 797-810.
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    16. Jeffrey S. Zax & Yin He, 2016. "The Law Of One Price In Chinese Factor Markets," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(04), pages 1-31, September.

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