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China's Western Development Strategy and Nature versus Nurture


  • Jane Golley


The current trend of rising inequalities in industrial development between East and West China has resulted from a combination of nature and nurture. Given the natural tendency for firms to agglomerate in a developing, market economy, and the numerous geographical and historical factors that have long favoured the Eastern region, it is hardly surprising that this is where Chinese industry has become increasingly agglomerated in recent decades. It is even less surprising in light of deliberate policy choices that compounded, or nurtured, this natural tendency. Left to market forces alone, the agglomeration process should reverse itself (to some extent) in the (very) long-run, as firms relocate to provinces with relatively low costs of production. However, that theoretical long-run is too far away for the Chinese central government, which has introduced a 'Western Development Strategy' to try and speed up economic development in China's poorest region. This paper assesses the likelihood that this Strategy in its current guise will succeed in promoting industrial development in the West.

Suggested Citation

  • Jane Golley, 2007. "China's Western Development Strategy and Nature versus Nurture," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 115-129.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jocebs:v:5:y:2007:i:2:p:115-129 DOI: 10.1080/14765280701362380

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lawrence J. Lau & Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland, 2000. "Reform without Losers: An Interpretation of China's Dual-Track Approach to Transition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 120-143, February.
    2. Andrea Goldstein, 2002. "The political economy of high-tech industries in developing countries: aerospace in Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(4), pages 521-538, July.
    3. Nolan, Peter & Zhang, Jin, 2003. "Globalization Challenge for Large Firms from Developing Countries:: China's Oil and Aerospace Industries," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 285-299, June.
    4. Frankenstein John, 1999. "China's Defense Industries: A New Course?," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-44, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zheng Lu & Xiang Deng, 2013. "Regional Policy And Regional Development: A Case Study Of China‘S Western Development Strategy," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 1(15), pages 1-21.
    2. Lu, Zheng & Deng, Xiang, 2011. "China's Western Development Strategy: Policies, Effects and Prospects," MPRA Paper 35201, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Shenggen Fan & Ravi Kanbur & Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2013. "The Economics of China: Successes and Challenges," NBER Working Papers 19648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Cheong, Tsun Se & Wu, Yanrui, 2014. "The impacts of structural transformation and industrial upgrading on regional inequality in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 339-350.
    5. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:62:y:2017:i:04:n:s021759081740032x is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    JEL Classifications: O14; O18; O25; O53; R58; R11;

    JEL classification:

    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes


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