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Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China

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Listed:
  • Tao Zhang
  • Heng-fu Zou

Abstract

The authors of this report use data on China to demonstrate how the allocation of fiscal revenue and expenditures between central and local governments has affected economic growth since reforms that began in the late 1970s. They find a higher degree of fiscal decentralization associated with lower provincial economic growth over the past 15 years in China. This implies that fiscal reforms begun in China in the early 1980s have probably failed to promote the country's economic growth. This result is consistently significant and robust in their empirical examinations, and is surprising in light of the argument that fiscal decentralization usually contributes positively to provincial or local economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1996. "Fiscal decentralization, public spending, and economic growth in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1608, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1608
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Zou Heng-fu, 1994. "Dynamic Effects of Federal Grants on Local Spending," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 98-115, July.
    3. Edward M. Gramlich & Harvy Galper, 1973. "State and Local Fiscal Behavior and Federal Grant Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 15-66.
    4. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 46(2), pages 237-243, June.
    5. Bird, Richard & Wallich, Christine, 1993. "Fiscal decentralization and intergovernmental relations in transition economics : toward a systematic framework of analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1122, The World Bank.
    6. 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 103-126, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    9. Peltzman, Sam, 1980. "The Growth of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 209-287, October.
    10. Bahl, Roy W. & Wallich, Christine, 1992. "Intergovernmental fiscal relations in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 863, The World Bank.
    11. Feder, Gershon, 1983. "On exports and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1-2), pages 59-73.
    12. Bird, Richard M., 1993. "Threading the Fiscal Labyrinth: Some Issues in Fiscal Decentralization," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 207-27, June.
    13. Oates, Wallace E., 1993. "Fiscal Decentralization and Economic Development," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 237-43, June.
    14. Prud'homme, Remy, 1995. "The Dangers of Decentralization," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 201-220, August.
    15. Zou, Heng-fu, 1996. "Taxes, Federal Grants, Local Public Spending, and Growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 303-317, May.
    16. Gramlich, Edward M., 1993. "A Policymaker's Guide to Fiscal Decentralization," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 46(2), pages 229-235, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public&Municipal Finance; Public Sector Economics&Finance; Urban Economics; Economic Theory&Research; Banks&Banking Reform; Urban Economics; Economic Theory&Research; Public Sector Economics&Finance; National Governance; Public&Municipal Finance;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis

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