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Economic integration in China: Politics and culture

Listed author(s):
  • Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten
  • Libman, Alexander
  • Yu, Xiaofan

The aim of the paper is to explicitly disentangle the role of political and cultural boundaries as factors of fragmentation of economies within large countries. On the one hand, local protectionism plays a substantial role in many federations and decentralized states. On the other hand, if the country exhibits high level of cultural heterogeneity, it may also contribute to the economic fragmentation; however, this topic has received significantly less attention in the literature. This paper looks at the case of China and proxies the cultural heterogeneity by the heterogeneity of local dialects. It shows that the effect of politics clearly dominates that of culture: while provincial borders seem to have a strong influence disrupting economic ties, economic linkages across provinces, even if the regions fall into the same linguistic zone, are rather weak and, on the contrary, linguistic differences within provinces do not prevent economic integration. For some language zones we do, however, find a stronger effect on economic integration.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 470-492

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:42:y:2014:i:2:p:470-492
DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2013.10.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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