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Local Officials as Land Developers: Urban Spatial Expansion in China

  • Lichtenberg, Erik
  • Ding, Chengri

We investigate conceptually and empirically the role of economic incentives in the primary land allocation in China in recent years. A theoretical analysis demonstrates how recent fiscal and governance reforms give rise to land conversion decisions and long run urban spatial sizes much like those generated by competitive land markets with private land ownership. An econometric investigation of Shanghai and the provinces surrounding it demonstrates the presence of rent gradients, often used as an indication of the presence of land markets. It thus appears that economic forces have continued to exercise dominant influence over primary land allocations in spite of recent administrative restrictions on land conversion. These rent gradients are strongest in the most economically developed portions of the study region and weakest in the least economically developed. Urban land values exceed agricultural land values by a considerable margin, suggesting that rates of urbanization will continue to be rapid. The estimated rent gradients also suggest that much of this region will eventually become completely urbanized.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/6834
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Paper provided by University of Maryland, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in its series Working Papers with number 6834.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:umdrwp:6834
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  1. Hartwick, John M. & Van Long, Ngo & Tian, Huilan, 2001. "Deforestation and Development in a Small Open Economy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 235-251, May.
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  7. F Wu, 1998. "Polycentric urban development and land-use change in a transitional economy: the case of Guangzhou," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 30(6), pages 1077-1100, June.
  8. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 1996. "Inter-City Competition for Foreign Investment: Static and Dynamic Effects of China's Incentive Areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 38-60, July.
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  10. Deng, Xiangzheng & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott & Uchida, Emi, 2008. "Growth, population and industrialization, and urban land expansion of China," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 96-115, January.
  11. Yuming Fu & Tsur Somerville & Mengdi Gu & Tongcheng Huang, 1999. "Land Use Rights, Government Land Supply, and the Pattern of Redevelopment in Shanghai," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 2(1), pages 49-78.
  12. Chen, Jian & Fleisher, Belton M., 1996. "Regional Income Inequality and Economic Growth in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 141-164, April.
  13. Peterson, George E., 2006. "Land leasing and land sale as an infrastructure-financing option," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4043, The World Bank.
  14. Jin, Hehui & Qian, Yingyi & Weingast, Barry R., 2005. "Regional decentralization and fiscal incentives: Federalism, Chinese style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1719-1742, September.
  15. Bertaud, Alain & Renaud, Bertrand, 1997. "Socialist Cities without Land Markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 137-151, January.
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