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Regulation of local governments and enterprise formation in rural China


  • Jian Zhang
  • Sandeep Mohapatra
  • Steve Boucher
  • Scott Rozelle


With the rise of the private sector in rural China, power has been shifting from the hands of local government officials to the hands of entrepreneurs. In this situation, economic theory offers two opposing predictions regarding how local governments will react to the attrition of power: the economic losers hypothesis (local governments will resist change because it threatens their economic rents) and the helping hand hypothesis (incentives of local government are aligned with the change, limiting resistance). We econometrically test the two hypotheses using a nationally representative sample of data on almost 2500 villages in rural China. Our findings provide strong support for the economic losers hypothesis - local governments resist competition that emerges with the rise of private firms using discriminatory regulation. Our findings suggest that entrepreneurial policies that encourage an impartial regulatory environment for different types of enterprises in rural China may have long run efficiency implication for China's economy. However, left on their own, local governments may not have an incentive to promote such reforms.

Suggested Citation

  • Jian Zhang & Sandeep Mohapatra & Steve Boucher & Scott Rozelle, 2009. "Regulation of local governments and enterprise formation in rural China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 321-339.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jocebs:v:7:y:2009:i:3:p:321-339
    DOI: 10.1080/14765280903073199

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jian Zhang & Linxiu Zhang & Scott Rozelle & Steve Boucher, 2006. "Self-Employment With Chinese Characteristics: The Forgotten Engine Of Rural China'S Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 446-458, July.
    2. Dean Jolliffe & Bohdan Krushelnytskyy & Anastassia Semykina, 2001. "Censored least absolute deviations estimator: CLAD," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 10(58).
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    firm; governance; entrepreneurial policy; China;


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