IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Rethinking Regional Disparity in China


  • Zhang, Wei


Income disparities in China decreased both across provinces and across three transprovincial areas from 1978 through 1984. After 1984 there was an increase in disparity across the three areas, but there was no change across provinces. The faster growth of the coastal area can be attributed to the growth of the previously relatively poorer areas of the eastern seaboard. But this was not realised at the cost of growth in other areas; instead it contributed to overall national economic growth. International trade and foreign direct investment are the main driving forces behind the changes in regional disparity. The reasons for the concentration of trade and foreign investment in the coastal area are its inherent comparative advantage in terms of lower labour costs, better infrastructure facilities, close relations with overseas Chinese, favourable geographic location, as well as national industrial policies that protect the domestic market from foreign investment. The central government's preferential policies towards the costal area were a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for such a concentration of foreign trade and investment. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Wei, 2001. "Rethinking Regional Disparity in China," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 34(1-2), pages 113-138.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:ecopln:v:34:y:2001:i:1-2:p:113-38

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1991. "The dominance of inefficiencies over scale and product mix economies in banking," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 117-148, August.
    2. Berger, Allen N. & Mester, Loretta J., 1997. "Inside the black box: What explains differences in the efficiencies of financial institutions?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(7), pages 895-947, July.
    3. Laurent Weill, 2003. "Banking efficiency in transition economies," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(3), pages 569-592, September.
    4. Konopielko, Lukasz, 1997. "A Note on Polish Bank Consolidation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 441-447, December.
    5. Kraft, Evan & Tirtiroglu, Dogan, 1998. "Bank Efficiency in Croatia: A Stochastic-Frontier Analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 282-300, June.
    6. Ferrier, Gary D. & Lovell, C. A. Knox, 1990. "Measuring cost efficiency in banking : Econometric and linear programming evidence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1-2), pages 229-245.
    7. Drake, Leigh & Hall, Maximilian J. B., 2003. "Efficiency in Japanese banking: An empirical analysis," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 891-917, May.
    8. Hunter, William C & Timme, Stephen G, 1995. "Core Deposits and Physical Capital: A Reexamination of Bank Scale Economies and Efficiency with Quasi-Fixed Inputs," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 165-185, February.
    9. Berger, Allen N. & Humphrey, David B., 1997. "Efficiency of financial institutions: International survey and directions for future research," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 175-212, April.
    10. Berger, Allen N. & Hunter, William C. & Timme, Stephen G., 1993. "The efficiency of financial institutions: A review and preview of research past, present and future," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 221-249, April.
    11. Berger, Allen N. & Hanweck, Gerald A. & Humphrey, David B., 1987. "Competitive viability in banking : Scale, scope, and product mix economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 501-520, December.
    12. Schmidt, Peter & Sickles, Robin C, 1984. "Production Frontiers and Panel Data," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(4), pages 367-374, October.
    13. Allen, Linda & Rai, Anoop, 1996. "Operational efficiency in banking: An international comparison," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 655-672, May.
    14. Hunter, William C & Timme, Stephen G, 1986. "Technical Change, Organizational Form, and the Structure of Bank Production," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 18(2), pages 152-166, May.
    15. Carbo, S & Gardener, E P M & Williams, J, 2002. "Efficiency in Banking: Empirical Evidence from the Savings Banks Sector," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 70(2), pages 204-228, March.
    16. Berger, Allen N. & Hancock, Diana & Humphrey, David B., 1993. "Bank efficiency derived from the profit function," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 17(2-3), pages 317-347, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Guangdong Li & Chuanglin Fang, 2014. "Analyzing the multi-mechanism of regional inequality in China," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 52(1), pages 155-182, January.
    2. Yuheng Li & Hans Westlund & Göran Cars, 2010. "Future urban-rural relationship in China: comparison in a global context," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(4), pages 396-411, November.
    3. Xubei Luo & Nong Zhu & Heng-fu Zou, 2014. "China's Lagging Region Development And Targeted Transportation Infrastructure Investments," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 157-200, May.
    4. Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya, 2008. "Do Elections Slow Down Economic Globalization Process In India? It’S Politics Stupid !," MPRA Paper 10139, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Xiaoyun Liu & Xiuqing Wang & Xian Xin, 2012. "Did agricultural technological changes affect China's regional disparity?," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 4(4), pages 440-449, November.
    6. Peng Zhang & Mann Xu, 2011. "The View from the County: China's Regional Inequalities of Socio-Economic Development," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 12(1), pages 183-198, May.
    7. Euijune Kim & Euijune Kim & Sung Woong Hong & Soo Jung Ha, 2003. "Impacts of national development and decentralization policies on regional income disparity in Korea," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 37(1), pages 79-91, February.
    8. Catin, Maurice & Luo, Xubei & Van Huffel, Christophe, 2005. "Openness, industrialization, and geographic concentration of activities in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3706, The World Bank.
    9. Gunby, Philip & Jin, Yinghua & Robert Reed, W., 2017. "Did FDI Really Cause Chinese Economic Growth? A Meta-Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 242-255.
    10. Demurger, Sylvie & Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Woo, Wing Thye & BAO, Shuming & Chang, Gene, 2002. "The relative contributions of location and preferential policies in China's regional development: being in the right place and having the right incentives," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 444-465, December.
    11. Mischke, Peggy & Xiong, Weiming, 2015. "Mapping and benchmarking regional disparities in China’s energy supply, transformation, and end-use in 2010," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 359-369.
    12. Maurice Catin & Christophe Van Huffel, 2004. "Ouverture économique et inégalités régionales de développement en Chine : le rôle des institutions," Mondes en développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 128(4), pages 7-23.
    13. Sakamoto, Hiroshi & Islam, Nazrul, 2008. "Convergence across Chinese provinces: An analysis using Markov transition matrix," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 66-79, March.
    14. Fu, Xiaolan, 2004. "Limited linkages from growth engines and regional disparities in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 148-164, March.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:ecopln:v:34:y:2001:i:1-2:p:113-38. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.