Are intergovernmental transfers in China equalizing?
Since 1994, China's central government has implemented a sequence of fiscal recentralization measures to increase its equalization capacity and reduce regional income disparities. However, the effect of intergovernmental transfers on equalization has been called into question by anecdotal evidence that seems to suggest that transfers from the center are not rule-based and are subject to heavy rent-seeking. Unlike past studies, which have focused on the equalization effects of total fiscal transfers from the center, this paper includes an examination of the equalization effects of different types of transfers because some transfers, which are inherently anti-equalizing, may mask the equalization effects of other types of transfers when they are lumped together to find the “average” effect. Using inequality measures, a decomposition of fiscal disparities, and dynamic panel data models, we find that China's intergovernmental transfer system that was established in 1994 does have some equalizing elements. To a large extent, these elements exist due to the mechanism designed to shrink the tax rebates that bear the legacy of the pre-1994 system; to a small extent, these elements exist due to the rule-based general-purpose transfer whose share in total transfers remains small but has increased since 2002. However, the equalization effects of the largest component of transfers, specific-purpose transfers, are anti-equalizing. They are typically not rule-based and thus subject to political influence. As a result, total transfers also exhibit significant anti-equalization effects.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Grossman, Philip J, 1994.
" A Political Theory of Intergovernmental Grants,"
Springer, vol. 78(3-4), pages 295-303, March.
- Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
- Jameson Boex & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2005. "The Determinants of the Incidence of Intergovernmental Grants: A Survey of the International Experience," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0509, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Tsui, Kai-yuen, 2005. "Local tax system, intergovernmental transfers and China's local fiscal disparities," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 173-196, March.
- International Monetary Fund, 2004. "Toward More Effective Redistribution; Reform Options for Intergovernmental Transfers in China," IMF Working Papers 04/98, International Monetary Fund.
- Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
- Zhang, Xiaobo, 2006.
"Fiscal Decentralization and Political Centralization in China: Implications for Growth and Inequality,"
Working Paper Series
RP2006/93, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Zhang, Xiaobo, 2006. "Fiscal decentralization and political centralization in China: Implications for growth and inequality," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 713-726, December.
- Arellano, Manuel & Bond, Stephen, 1991.
"Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations,"
Review of Economic Studies,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(2), pages 277-97, April.
- Tom Doan, . "RATS program to replicate Arellano-Bond 1991 dynamic panel," Statistical Software Components RTZ00169, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Chen, Kang, 2004. "Fiscal centralization and the form of corruption in China," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 1001-1009, November.
- Tsui, Kai-Yuen & Wang, Youqiang, 2008. "Decentralization with political trump: Vertical control, local accountability and regional disparities in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 18-31, March.
- Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Baoyun Qiao & Li Zhang, 2007. "The Role of Provincial Policies in Fiscal Equalization Outcomes in China," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0705, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- John Knight & Li Shi, 1999. "Fiscal decentralization: Incentives, redistribution and reform in China," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 5-32.
- Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
- Zhihua Zhang & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2003. "The System of Equalization Transfers in China," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0312, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
- Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1998. "Fiscal federalism and redistributive politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 153-180, May.
- Qing, Yu & Kaiyuen, TSUI, 2005. "Factor decomposition of sub-provincial fiscal disparities in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 403-418.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:3:p:534-551. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.