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Journal of Economic Literature: Vol. 49 No. 4 (December 2011)

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The Fundamental Institutions of China's Reforms and Development

Article Citation

Xu, Chenggang. 2011. "The Fundamental Institutions of China's Reforms and Development." Journal of Economic Literature, 49(4): 1076-1151.

DOI: 10.1257/jel.49.4.1076

Abstract

China's economic reforms have resulted in spectacular growth and poverty reduction. However, China's institutions look ill-suited to achieve such a result, and they indeed suffer from serious shortcomings. To solve the "China puzzle," this paper analyzes China's institution—a regionally decentralized authoritarian system. The central government has control over personnel, whereas subnational governments run the bulk of the economy; and they initiate, negotiate, implement, divert, and resist reforms, policies, rules, and laws. China's reform trajectories have been shaped by regional decentralization. Spectacular performance on the one hand and grave problems on the other hand are all determined by this governance structure. (JEL O17, O18, O43, P21, P25, P26)

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Authors

Xu, Chenggang (U Hong Kong and WCU-SNU)

JEL Classifications

O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
O18: Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
O43: Institutions and Growth
P21: Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies: Planning, Coordination, and Reform
P25: Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies: Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
P26: Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies: Political Economy; Property Rights


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