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Geography, Economic Policy and Regional Development in China

  • Sylvie DEMURGER

    ()

    (Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique - Université Lyon II)

  • SACHS
  • Wing Thye WOO

    (Université Californie Davis)

  • BAO
  • CHANG
  • MELLINGER

Many studies of regional disparity in China have focused on the preferential policies received by the coastal provinces. We decomposed the location dummies in provincial growth regressions to obtain estimates of the effects of geography and policy on provincial growth rates in 1996–99. Their respective contributions in percentage points were 2.5 and 3.5 for the province-level metropolises, 0.6 and 2.3 for the northeastern provinces, 2.8 and 2.8 for the coastal provinces, 2.0 and 1.6 for the central provinces, 0 and 1.6 for the northwestern provinces, and 0.1 and 1.8 for the southwestern provinces. Because the so-called preferential policies are largely deregulation policies that allowed coastal Chinese provinces to integrate into the international economy, it is far superior to reduce regional disparity by extending these deregulation policies to the interior provinces than by re-regulating the coastal provinces. Two additional inhibitions to income convergence are the household registration system, which makes the movement of the rural poor to prosperous areas illegal, and the monopoly state bank system that, because of their bureaucratic nature, disburses most of its funds to its large traditional customers, few of whom are located in the western provinces. Improving infrastructure to overcome geographic barriers is fundamental to increasing western growth, but increasing human capital formation (education and medical care) is also crucial because only it can come up with new better ideas to solve centuries-old problems like unbalanced growth.

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Paper provided by CERDI in its series Working Papers with number 200109.

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Length: 64
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdi:wpaper:157
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  1. Jian, Tianlun & Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1996. "Trends in regional inequality in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-21.
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  18. Mody, Ashoka & Wang, Fang-Yi, 1997. "Explaining Industrial Growth in Coastal China: Economic Reforms . . . and What Else?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 293-325, May.
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