Paying for Progress in China : Public Finance, Human Welfare and Changing Patterns of Inequality book cover
1st Edition

Paying for Progress in China
Public Finance, Human Welfare and Changing Patterns of Inequality

ISBN 9780415487795
Published July 31, 2015 by Routledge
208 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

China’s stunning record of economic development since the 1970s has been marred by an increasingly obvious gap between the country’s ‘haves’ and its ‘have-nots’. While people living in some parts of the country have enjoyed dramatically improved conditions of life, those in other districts and regions have slipped ever further behind in terms of access to health, wealth, education, security and opportunity.

Paying for Progress in China is a collection of essays which trace the causes of this growing inequality, using new data including surveys, interviews, newly available official statistics and in-depth fieldwork. Their findings expose the malfunctioning of China’s ‘broken’ intergovernmental fiscal system, which has exacerbated the disequalizing effects of emerging market forces. Whilst the government’s deliberately ‘pro-poor’ development policies have in recent years sought to reduce the gap between rich and poor, both markets, and also state institutions and policies, are continuing to create perverse equity outcomes across the country, confounding hopes for better-balanced and more inclusive growth in China.

The interdisciplinary approach of this collection, incorporating work by economists, sociologists and political scientists, makes it a valuable resource for students of contemporary Chinese political economy and social development.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Is China Moving to a More Equitable Development Strategy, Vivienne Shue & Christine Wong

Chapter 1 Can the Retreat From Equality Be Reversed? An Assessment of Redistributive Fiscal Policies from Deng Xiaoping to Wen Jiabo, Christine Wong

Chapter 2 Has China Reached the Top of the Kuznets Curve?, Carl Riskin

Chapter 3 Local Goverance, Health Financing, and Changing Patterns of Inequality in Access to Health Care, Jane Duckett

Chapter 4 Paying for Education, Rachel Murphy

Chapter 5 Social Security in Transition, Athar Hussain

Chapter 6 Investing in Rural China: Tracking China's Commitment to Modernization, Zhang Linxiu, Luo Renfu, Liu Chengfang and Scott Rozelle

Chapter 7 Who Receives Subsidies? A Look at the County Level in Two Time Periods, Victor Shih and Zhang Qi

Chapter 8 Local Governance, Policy Mandates and Fiscal Reform in China, Liu Mingxing and Tao Ran

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Vivienne Shue is the Leverhulme Professor and Director of the Contemporary China Studies Programme at Oxford University.

Christine Wong is the Henry M. Jackson Professor of International Studies at the University of Washington.


'The well-presented studies provide a rich starting point, analysing China's current reform challenges from a variety of angles and disciplinary perspectives, opening up new research and policy questions for futher work, and demonstrating the value of collaboration across related fields of public finance, governance and welfare. Overall, the volume provides an excellent model of how a group of researchers can collectively focus on a core set of questions, using detailed empirical results to tell a powerful story.' - Sarah Cook, The China Quarterly, 191, September 2007


'This volume should appeal to a broad audience of Chinese studies scholars and be a useful resource for graduate-level courses on contemporary Chinese politics' - SASCHA KLOTZBÜCHER, China Information, 2008; 22; 183


'This book is sure to have an important impact, and all libraries, scholars and students of Chinese politics, society and economy would do well to read it' - William Hurst, The China Journal, January 2008

"This volume should be a staple in any course on China's political economy, and it will also appeal to professional and policy audiences." - Kellee S. Tsai, Journal of Asian Studies