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Government Size and Macroeconomic Stability: Sub-National Evidence from China

  • Li, Cheng
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Both theoretical predictions of Keynesian view and a large body of empirical studies on developed countries suggest that business cycle fluctuations can be partially smoothed by counter-cyclical fiscal policies. Our paper extends this strand of literature by considering the nexus between output fluctuations and government size in the context of Chinese fiscal federalism. Using a sample of 29 Chinese provinces for the period of 1994-2007, we fail to provide consistent evidence for the stabilizing effect of fiscal policies. In particular, we find that under the tax assignment system (fen shui zhi), neither the central government’s fiscal transfers nor the provincial budgetary and extra-budgetary revenues help reduce economic volatility. Such results are shown to be robust across different model specifications, volatility measures and estimation techniques.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28226.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28226
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  1. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Adeel Malik & Jonathan R.W. Temple, 2005. "The Geography of Output Volatility," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2005-07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Javier Andrés & Rafael Doménech & Antonio Fatás, 2007. "The stabilizing role of government size," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0710, Banco de Espa�a.
  5. Yin Zhang & Guanghua Wan, 2005. "China's Business Cycles: Perspectives from an AD-AS Model ," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 445-469, December.
  6. Xavier Debrun & Jean Pisani-Ferry & André Sapir, 2008. "Government size and output volatility: should we forsake automatic stabilisation?," Working Papers 47, Bruegel.
  7. Gang Gong & Justin Yifu Lin, 2005. "Deflationary Expansion : an Overshooting Perspective to the Recent Business Cycle in China," Macroeconomics Working Papers 21959, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  8. Stefan E. Oppers, 1997. "Macroeconomic Cycles in China," IMF Working Papers 97/135, International Monetary Fund.
  9. Fatás, Antonio & Mihov, Ilian, 1999. "Government Size and Automatic Stabilizers: International and Intranational Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2259, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Gali, Jordi, 1994. "Government size and macroeconomic stability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 117-132, January.
  11. Loren Brandt & Xiaodong Zhu, 2000. "Redistribution in a Decentralized Economy: Growth and Inflation in China under Reform," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 422-451, April.
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