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Rural tax reform and the extractive capacity of local state in China

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  • LIU, Mingxing
  • XU, Zhigang
  • SU, Fubing
  • TAO, Ran

Abstract

China's fiscal arrangement in the 1980s has preserved local governments' incentive but the 1994 fiscal reform recentralized revenues. Since then, farmers' tax burdens have risen steeply and become a major challenge to the state legitimacy. How to account for the huge regional variation? Why were some localities able to tax more heavily than others? Based on a national survey of village governance in China, we examine farmers' burdens empirically and identify political and social factors that explain the local governments' ability to tax farmers. This paper suggests that developments since the 1990s have shown that it overstates local discretionary power and does not pay enough attention to societal forces in understanding local public finance.

Suggested Citation

  • LIU, Mingxing & XU, Zhigang & SU, Fubing & TAO, Ran, 2012. "Rural tax reform and the extractive capacity of local state in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 190-203.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:1:p:190-203
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2011.10.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pesqué-Cela, Vanesa & Tao, Ran & Liu, Yongdong & Sun, Laixiang, 2009. "Challenging, complementing or assuming 'the Mandate of Heaven'? Political distrust and the rise of self-governing social organizations in rural China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 151-168, March.
    2. Mishkin, Frederic S. & Savastano, Miguel A., 2001. "Monetary policy strategies for Latin America," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 415-444, December.
    3. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1992. "Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 34-51, March.
    4. Roy, Indrajit, 2008. "Civil Society and Good Governance: (Re-) Conceptualizing the Interface," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 677-705, April.
    5. Jin, Hehui & Qian, Yingyi & Weingast, Barry R., 2005. "Regional decentralization and fiscal incentives: Federalism, Chinese style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1719-1742, September.
    6. White, Gordon & Howell, Jude A. & Shang Xiaoyuan,, 1996. "In Search of Civil Society: Market Reform and Social Change in Contemporary China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198289562.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ding, Chengri & Niu, Yi & Lichtenberg, Erik, 2014. "Spending preferences of local officials with off-budget land revenues of Chinese cities," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 265-276.
    2. Chen, Shuzhang & Oxley, Les & Xu, Zheng & Wang, Yanqing & Ma, Hengyun, 2013. "The dynamic adjustment of factor inputs and its policy implications for major wheat producing areas in China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 450-457.
    3. Mu, Ren & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2014. "Do elected leaders in a limited democracy have real power? Evidence from rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 17-27.
    4. Song, Yang, 2013. "Rising Chinese regional income inequality: The role of fiscal decentralization," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 294-309.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Central–local relations; Local public finance; Farmers' burdens; Rural Tax reform; China;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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