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Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China

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  • Zhang, Tao
  • Zou, Heng-fu

Abstract

This study of China demonstrates how the allocation of fiscal resources between the central and local governments has affected economic growth since reforms began in the late 1970s. We find that a higher degree of fiscal decentralization of government spending is associated with lower provincial economic growth over the past fifteen years. This consistently significant and robust result in our empirical examinations is surprising in light of the argument that fiscal decentralization usually makes a positive contribution to local economic growth.
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Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 221-240, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:67:y:1998:i:2:p:221-240
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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Zou Heng-fu, 1994. "Dynamic Effects of Federal Grants on Local Spending," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 98-115, July.
    3. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Heng-fu, Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 313-344, April.
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    5. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-43, June.
    6. Prud'homme, Remy, 1995. "The Dangers of Decentralization," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 201-220, August.
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    8. Zou, Heng-fu, 1996. "Taxes, Federal Grants, Local Public Spending, and Growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 303-317, May.
    9. Bird, Richard & Wallich, Christine, 1993. "Fiscal decentralization and intergovernmental relations in transition economics : toward a systematic framework of analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1122, The World Bank.
    10. Barro, Robert J, 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 103-126, October.
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    12. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    13. Peltzman, Sam, 1980. "The Growth of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 209-287, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis

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