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Strategic interaction in political competition: Evidence from spatial effects across Chinese cities

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  • Yu, Jihai
  • Zhou, Li-An
  • Zhu, Guozhong

Abstract

Promotion of local leaders in China is decided by their upper-level governments which evaluate their performance based largely on local economic growth. Such a promotion scheme leads to tournament competition among local government leaders of the same level. We test the hypothesis of tournament competition by studying the spatial effects across Chinese prefectural-level cities. Employing spatial econometrics tools, we document a strong spatial effect for city-level total investment which fuels short-term economic growth. This spatial effect is shown to occur only for cities within the same province, but not for neighboring cities located in different provinces. We also find that within the same province, the spatial effect mainly exists for cities with similar economic ranking but not for cities that are geographically proximate. The spatial effect tends to diminish for city leaders who are close to the end of their political careers. These findings suggest that the spatial effect for investment is driven by strategic interactions among political rivals in tournament competition. We rule out alternative factors, such as economic spillovers and tax competition, as the key drivers of the observed spatial effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu, Jihai & Zhou, Li-An & Zhu, Guozhong, 2016. "Strategic interaction in political competition: Evidence from spatial effects across Chinese cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 23-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:57:y:2016:i:c:p:23-37
    DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2015.12.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Shoukun, 2016. "China's interregional capital mobility: A spatial econometric estimation," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 114-128.
    2. repec:bla:presci:v:96:y:2017:i:3:p:627-645 is not listed on IDEAS
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    4. Li, Yanan & Kanbur, Ravi & Lin, Carl, 2018. "Minimum Wage Competition between Local Governments in China," IZA Discussion Papers 11893, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    8. Wang, Yuan & Hui, Eddie Chi-man, 2017. "Are local governments maximizing land revenue? Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 196-215.
    9. Han, Xiaoyi & Hsieh, Chih-Sheng & Lee, Lung-fei, 2017. "Estimation and model selection of higher-order spatial autoregressive model: An efficient Bayesian approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 97-120.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tournament competition; Investment; Chinese economy; Spatial effect;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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