Growth and Equity Tradeoff in Decentralization Policy: China's Experience
The paper uses China's recent experience to investigate the potential tradeoff between economic growth and regional equity in the design of fiscal decentralization policy. Although present in other countries, this policy tradeoff has been particularly relevant to China over the last two decades. We build a theoretical model of fiscal decentralization, where overall national economic growth and equity in the regional distribution of fiscal resources are the two objectives pursued by a benevolent policy maker. Solutions that emphasize regional equity tend to have larger central government expenditures and higher contribution to the central budget by the richer jurisdictions. The reverse is true for solutions emphasizing growth. The model is tested using panel data for 1985-98. We find that fiscal decentralization in China led to economic growth, but this relationship was non-linear. Decentralization also led to significant increases in regional inequality. Overall, the historical record shows that pushing for a more equitable distribution of fiscal resources across provinces in China is likely to lead to lower national economic growth. The tradeoff between economic growth and regional equity is the most important and difficult decision in intergovernmental fiscal reform currently facing the Chinese authorities.
|Date of creation:||01 Jul 2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Phone: 404-413-0235|
Web page: http://aysps.gsu.edu/isp/index.html
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 2001.
"Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China,"
CEMA Working Papers
58, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Zhang, Tao & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 221-240, February.
- Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1996. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1608, The World Bank.
- Barro, Robert J, 1990.
"Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages S103-26, October.
- Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth," Scholarly Articles 3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
- Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1997.
"Federalism as a Commitment to Reserving Market Incentives,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 83-92, Fall.
- Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1997. "Federalism as a Commitment to Preserving Market Incentives," Working Papers 97042, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
- Romer, Paul M, 1986.
"Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
- Roland Bénabou, 1996.
"Inequality and Growth,"
in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1996, Volume 11, pages 11-92
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Roland Benabou, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," NBER Working Papers 5658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Benabou, R., 1996. "Inequality and Growth," Working Papers 96-22, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
- Bénabou, Roland, 1996. "Inequality and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1450, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Shantayanan Devarajan & Vinaya Swaroop & Heng-fu Zou, 1996.
"The composition of public expenditure and economic growth,"
CEMA Working Papers
77, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Devarajan, Shantayanan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Heng-fu, Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 313-344, April.
- Hofman, Bert, 1993. "An analysis of Chinese fiscal data over the reform period," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 213-230.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0216. 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: (Paul Benson)
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.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.