IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/wop/stanec/99011.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Institutional Foundations of China's Market Transition

Author

Listed:
  • Yingyi Qian

Abstract

April 1999 This paper intends to properly account for China's two decades of market transition by examining its institutional foundations. The journey of transition is analyzed as a two-stage process. In the first stage (1978-93), the system was reformed to unleash the standard forces of incentives, hard budget constraints, and competition, but the underlying institutional forms and mechanisms are far from conventional: reforming government through regional decentralization; entry and expansion of nonstate (mostly local government) enterprises; financial stability through "financial dualism;" and a dual-track approach to market liberalization. In the second stage, China aimed to build a rule-based market system incorporating international best practice institutions but proceeded in its own way. Major progress was made in the first five years (1994-98) on the unification of exchange rates and convertability of the current account; the overhaul of the tax and fiscal systems; reorganization of the central bank; downsizing of the government bureaucracy; and privatization and restructuring of state-owned enterprises. To complete its transition to markets, China still faces serious challenges, especially in transforming its financial system and state-owned enterprises and in establishing the rule of law. The paper concludes by reflecting on the economics of reform and institutional change from the Chinese experience. The main lesson learned is that considerable growth is possible with sensible but not perfect institutions, and that some unconventional "transitional institutions" can be more effective than the best practice institutions for a period of time because of the second-best principle. Specific lessons include: incentives, hard budget constraints, and competition should apply not only to firms but also to governments; reforms can be implemented without creating many or big losers; and successful reforms require appropriate, but not necessarily optimal, sequencing.

Suggested Citation

  • Yingyi Qian, 1999. "The Institutional Foundations of China's Market Transition," Working Papers 99011, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:99011
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www-econ.stanford.edu/faculty/workp/swp99011.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Federalism and the Soft Budget Constraint," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1143-1162, December.
    2. Woo Wing Thye & Hai Wen & Jin Yibiao & Fan Gang, 1994. "How Successful Has Chinese Enterprise Reform Been? Pitfalls in Opposite Biases and Focus," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 410-437, June.
    3. Mathias Dewatripont, 1992. "Economic Reform and Dynamic Political Constraints," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/175991, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Dewatripont, Mathias & Roland, Gerard, 1995. "The Design of Reform Packages under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1207-1223, December.
    5. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap, 2000. "The Japanese Banking Crisis: Where Did It Come From and How Will It End?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 129-212 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. M. Dewatripont & E. Maskin, 1995. "Credit and Efficiency in Centralized and Decentralized Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 541-555.
    7. Yingyi Qian, 1996. "Enterprise reform in China: agency problems and political control," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 4(2), pages 427-447, October.
    8. Gérard Roland & Thierry Verdier, 1999. "Transition and the output fall," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(1), pages 1-28, March.
    9. Weitzman Martin L. & Xu Chenggang, 1994. "Chinese Township-Village Enterprises as Vaguely Defined Cooperatives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 121-145, April.
    10. Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina V., 2000. "Incentives to provide local public goods: fiscal federalism, Russian style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 337-368, June.
    11. 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.
    12. János Kornai & Brian Snowdon, 2003. "From Socialism to Capitalism and Democracy," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(1), pages 33-71, January.
    13. Wei Li, 1999. "A Tale of Two Reforms," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 120-136, Spring.
    14. Coase, R H, 1992. "The Institutional Structure of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 713-719, September.
    15. Lau, Lawrence J. & Qian, Yingyi & Roland, Gerard, 1997. "Pareto-improving economic reforms through dual-track liberalization," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 285-292, August.
    16. Jin, Hehui & Qian, Yingyi & Weingast, Barry R., 2005. "Regional decentralization and fiscal incentives: Federalism, Chinese style," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1719-1742, September.
    17. Shleifer, Andrei, 1997. "Government in transition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 385-410, April.
    18. Olivier Blanchard & Michael Kremer, 1997. "Disorganization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1091-1126.
    19. Dwight H. Perkins, 1994. "Completing China's Move to the Market," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 23-46, Spring.
    20. Sachs, J.D. & Woo, W.T., 1994. "Structural Factors in the Economic Reforms of China, Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," Papers 94-01, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    21. Jiahua Che & Yingyi Qian, "undated". "Insecure Property Rights and Government Ownership of Firms," Working Papers 97050, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    22. repec:hrv:faseco:30725664 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Yingyi Qian & Gerard Roland & Chenggang Xu, 1999. "Coordinating Changes in M-form and U-form Organizations," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 284, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    24. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    25. Frye, Timothy & Shleifer, Andrei, 1997. "The Invisible Hand and the Grabbing Hand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 354-358, May.
    26. Yuanzheng Cao & Yingyi Qian & Barry R. Weingast, 1999. "From federalism, Chinese style to privatization, Chinese style," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(1), pages 103-131, March.
    27. Che, Jiahua & Qian, Yingyi, 1998. "Institutional Environment, Community Government, and Corporate Governance: Understanding China's Township-Village Enterprises," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(1), pages 1-23, April.
    28. Hehui Jin & Yingyi Qian, 1998. "Public Versus Private Ownership of Firms: Evidence from Rural China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 773-808.
    29. Chow, Gregory C, 1997. "Challenges of China's Economic System for Economic Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 321-327, May.
    30. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766.
    31. Chang Chun & Wang Yijiang, 1994. "The Nature of the Township-Village Enterprise," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 434-452, December.
    32. David D. Li, 1996. "A Theory of Ambiguous Property Rights in Transition Economies: The Case of the Chinese Non-State Sector," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 8, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    33. M. Dewatripont & G. Roland, 1992. "Economic Reform and Dynamic Political Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(4), pages 703-730.
    34. Gary H. Jefferson & Thomas G. Rawski, 1994. "Enterprise Reform in Chinese Industry," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 47-70, Spring.
    35. Shang-Jin Wei, 1997. "Gradualism versus Big Bang: Speed and Sustainability of Reforms," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 1234-1247, November.
    36. Chong-En Bai & David D. Li & Yingyi Qian & Yijiang Wang, 1999. "Anonymous Banking and Financial Repression: How Does China's Reform Limit Government Predation without Reducing Its Revenue?," Working Papers 99014, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
    37. Kornai, Janos, 1986. "The Hungarian Reform Process: Visions, Hopes, and Reality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 1687-1737, December.
    38. Theodore Groves & Yongmiao Hong & John McMillan & Barry Naughton, 1994. "Autonomy and Incentives in Chinese State Enterprises," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 183-209.
    39. Li, David D., 1996. "A Theory of Ambiguous Property Rights in Transition Economies: The Case of the Chinese Non-State Sector," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 1-19, August.
    40. Jiahua Che & Yingyi Qian, 1998. "Insecure Property Rights and Government Ownership of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 467-496.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Allen, Franklin & Qian, Jun & Qian, Meijun, 2005. "Law, finance, and economic growth in China," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 57-116, July.
    2. He, Dong & Wang, Honglin, 2012. "Dual-track interest rates and the conduct of monetary policy in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 928-947.
    3. Полтерович В.М., 2006. "Стратегии Институциональных Реформ. Перспективные Траектории," Журнал Экономика и математические методы (ЭММ), Центральный Экономико-Математический Институт (ЦЭМИ), vol. 42(1), январь.
    4. Jin, Jing & Zou, Heng-fu, 2005. "Fiscal decentralization, revenue and expenditure assignments, and growth in China," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 1047-1064, December.
    5. Milanovic, Branko & Hoff, Karla & Horowitz, Shale, 2008. "Political alternation as a restraint on investing in influence : evidence from the post-communist transition," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4747, The World Bank.
    6. Yang, Xiaokai, 2001. "China's entry to the WTO," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 437-442.
    7. Yasheng Huang & Wenhua Di, 2004. "A Tale of Two Provinces: The Institutional Environment and Foreign Ownership in China," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2004-667, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    8. Yang, Qing Gong & Temple, Paul, 2012. "Reform and competitive selection in China: An analysis of firm exits," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 286-299.
    9. Kang, Young-Sam & Kim, Byung-Yeon, 2012. "Ownership structure and firm performance: Evidence from the Chinese corporate reform," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 471-481.
    10. Yang, Zhou, 2016. "Tax reform, fiscal decentralization, and regional economic growth: New evidence from China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 520-528.
    11. Полтерович В.М., 2006. "Стратегии Институциональных Реформ. Китай И Россия," Журнал Экономика и математические методы (ЭММ), Центральный Экономико-Математический Институт (ЦЭМИ), vol. 42(2), апрель.
    12. repec:taf:rjapxx:v:13:y:2008:i:2:p:168-179 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Li, Minqi, 2004. "Aggregate Demand, Productivity, and "Disguised Unemployment" in the Chinese Industrial Sector," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 409-425, March.
    14. Yasheng Huang, 1999. "The Institutional Foundation of Foreign-Invested Enterprises (FIEs) in China," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 264, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    15. Xiaogang Wu & Yu Xie, 2002. "Does the Market Pay Off? Earnings Inequality and Returns to Education in Urban China," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 454, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    16. Rodrik, Dani, 2001. "Development strategies for the next century," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 33124, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    17. Sonja Opper, 2001. "Dual-track Ownership Reforms: Lessons from Structural Change in China, 1978-1997," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(2), pages 205-227.
    18. Ehtisham Ahmad & Li Keping & Raju J Singh & Thomas J Richardson, 2002. "Recentralization in China?," IMF Working Papers 02/168, International Monetary Fund.
    19. repec:taf:rjapxx:v:13:y:2008:i:3:p:313-331 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:stanec:99011. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/destaus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.