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Fiscal decentralization, collusion and government size in China's transitional economy

  • Chien-Hsun Chen

This paper examines the public sector in China's transitional economy, with the aim of testing the validity of a variety of hypotheses, namely the Brennan and Buchanan (1980, The Power to Tax: Analytical Foundations of a Fiscal Constitution, CUP, Cambridge); Oates-Wallis (1985, American Economic Review, 75(4) 748-57) version of the decentralization hypothesis and the Brennan and Buchanan collusion hypothesis, on the impact of fiscal decentralization at the provincial level. Pooled cross-section (province) and time-series data are employed with the period under consideration being 1986-1998. An error components technique is also used for the empirical testing. The empirical results provide evidence to support both the Oates-Wallis hypothesis and the collusion hypothesis that an increase in fiscal decentralization leads to a higher level of provincial government expenditure. The study also finds that the central and provincial governments are provided with an incentive to form collusive agreements through extra-budgetary funds.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics Letters.

Volume (Year): 11 (2004)
Issue (Month): 11 ()
Pages: 699-705

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Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:11:y:2004:i:11:p:699-705
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  1. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Robert McNab, 2001. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Growth," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0101, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  2. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922.
  3. Frye, Timothy & Shleifer, Andrei, 1997. "The Invisible Hand and the Grabbing Hand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 354-58, May.
  4. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-62, December.
  5. Feltenstein, Andrew & Iwata, Shigeru, 2005. "Decentralization and macroeconomic performance in China: regional autonomy has its costs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 481-501, April.
  6. Grossman, Philip J & West, Edwin G, 1994. " Federalism and the Growth of Government Revisited," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 79(1-2), pages 19-32, April.
  7. Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 2001. "The growth impact of intersectoral and intergovernmental allocation of public expenditure: With applications to China and India," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 58-81.
  8. Wong, Christine P. W. (ed.), 1997. "Financing Local Government in the People's Republic of China," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195900279.
  9. Breusch, T S & Pagan, A R, 1980. "The Lagrange Multiplier Test and Its Applications to Model Specification in Econometrics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 239-53, January.
  10. Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1997. "Rethinking Federalism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 43-64, Fall.
  11. Berkowitz, Daniel & Li, Wei, 2000. "Tax rights in transition economies: a tragedy of the commons?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 369-397, June.
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