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Subnational public finance in China : the nature, causes, and consequences of the 1994 fiscal reforms

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Item Summary

Title: Subnational public finance in China : the nature, causes, and consequences of the 1994 fiscal reforms
Authors: Lee, You Jeong
Keywords: Decentralization,
Issue Date: Aug 2014
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2014]
Abstract: This dissertation aims to explain the nature, cause, and consequence of informal fiscal decentralization in China since 1994. The 1994 tax reforms intended to strengthen the central government taxing power by increasing tax revenue through the tax assignment system. China also prohibited local government debt taking, while increasing intergovernmental transfers between the central government and local government. These series of China's centralization reforms in 1994 have realized uneven success. Central government tax revenue was improved significantly. However, local government still takes debt through the financial platform companies. The increased intergovernmental transfers did not decrease regional disparity, which is one of the goals of the central government. These are the unintended consequence of the centralization reform that this study tries to account for.
This study shows that revenue centralization unintentionally aggravates problems of local public finance. While maintaining the budget balance according to budget law, local government has carried out competitive economic growth and expenditure management. The ability to manage expenditure and attract investment is the criteria employed to evaluate the accomplishment of local leaders.
This study finds that prohibition of local government debt in China is constrained by their social network. This norm influences the strategy of local governments to increase their debt taking beyond the realm of formal rules under the competitive environment. This study also demonstrates that centralization of revenue made local governments increasingly resort to intergovernmental transfers, which in turn fail to reduce inequality across jurisdictions.
This study argues that an informally decentralized state reduces the merits of the decentralization. The informal consequence of the political and fiscal systems in China result in local leaders that acquire the medium level of change in power, while pursuing fiscal decentralization and maintaining political centralization. However, the unintended consequence is the retreat of the fiscal system, such as the increased fiscal instability and large gaps across jurisdictions.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Political Science

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