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The Disinterested Government: An Interpretation of China's Economic Success in the Reform Era

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  • Yao, Yang

Abstract

In the last 30 years, China has achieved high economic growth and successfully transformed its economy from a planned economy to a market-based system. The country, to a large extent, has attained success through the recommendations proposed by standard economic theory. However, the role of political economy has been omitted from the literature: how did China adopt the right economic policies and the appropriate road to reform? This paper attempts to answer this question. The central assumption of the paper is that China achieved success because the Chinese government has been a disinterested party, i.e., a government that does not favour any particular sections of the population and prioritizes the long-term welfare of the whole society. In this paper, we first define and analyse the concept of disinterested governments, and then proceed to provide several examples to demonstrate that China has been characterized by a disinterested government. Based on a theoretical model, we also discuss the reasons of the

Suggested Citation

  • Yao, Yang, 2009. "The Disinterested Government: An Interpretation of China's Economic Success in the Reform Era," WIDER Working Paper Series 033, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2009-33
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    2. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1992. "The Transition to a Market Economy: Pitfalls of Partial Reform," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 889-906.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:109:y:1994:i:2:p:465-90 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Wang, Shuna & Yao, Yang, 2007. "Grassroots Democracy and Local Governance: Evidence from Rural China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1635-1649, October.
    6. repec:mes:challe:v:33:y:1990:i:4:p:57-59 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Zhang, Xiaobo & Fan, Shenggen & Zhang, Linxiu & Huang, Jikun, 2004. "Local governance and public goods provision in rural China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2857-2871, December.
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    Keywords

    Disinterested governments; the China miracle; econimic reform;

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