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Intra-National Protectionism in China: Evidence from the Public Disclosure of ‘Illegal’ Drug Advertising


  • Markus Eberhardt
  • Zheng Wang
  • Zhihong Yu


This paper provides micro-level evidence that drug advertising regulations and inspections in China are used by local governments to discriminate against firms from outside the province. Furthermore, the degree of discrimination varies across firms in that drug manufacturers which have closer ties with rival provinces are more likely to be targeted. These findings demonstrate that giving provincial governments strong incentives to compete with each other may exacerbate the market distortions inherent in a partially reformed economy such as China.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Eberhardt & Zheng Wang & Zhihong Yu, 2013. "Intra-National Protectionism in China: Evidence from the Public Disclosure of ‘Illegal’ Drug Advertising," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-07, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2013-07

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Natalia Ramondo & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare & Milagro Saborío-Rodríguez, 2016. "Trade, Domestic Frictions, and Scale Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 3159-3184, October.
    2. Hongbin Cai & Qiao Liu, 2009. "Competition and Corporate Tax Avoidance: Evidence from Chinese Industrial Firms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 764-795, April.
    3. Brandt, Loren & Van Biesebroeck, Johannes & Zhang, Yifan, 2012. "Creative accounting or creative destruction? Firm-level productivity growth in Chinese manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 339-351.
    4. Li, Hongbin & Zhou, Li-An, 2005. "Political turnover and economic performance: the incentive role of personnel control in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1743-1762, September.
    5. Bai, Chong-En & Du, Yingjuan & Tao, Zhigang & Tong, Sarah Y., 2004. "Local protectionism and regional specialization: evidence from China's industries," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 397-417, July.
    6. Chen, Ye & Li, Hongbin & Zhou, Li-An, 2005. "Relative performance evaluation and the turnover of provincial leaders in China," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 421-425, September.
    7. Atkin, David & Donaldson, Dave, 2015. "Who’s Getting Globalized? The Size and Implications of Intra-national Trade Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 10759, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor's Edge: Distortions and Incremental Reform in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 7828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Carsten A. Holz, 2009. "No Razor's Edge: Reexamining Alwyn Young's Evidence for Increasing Interprovincial Trade Barriers in China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 599-616, August.
    10. Guriev, Sergei, 2004. "Red tape and corruption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 489-504, April.
    11. Alwyn Young, 2000. "The Razor's Edge: Distortions and Incremental Reform in the People's Republic of China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1091-1135.
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    Cited by:

    1. Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten & Libman, Alexander & Yu, Xiaofan, 2014. "Economic integration in China: Politics and culture," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 470-492.

    More about this item


    China; intra-national protectionism; drug advertising;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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