Paying for Progress in China

Public Finance, Human Welfare and Changing Patterns of Inequality

Edited by Vivienne Shue, Christine Wong

© 2008 – Routledge

196 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415487795
pub: 2008-09-23
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415422543
pub: 2007-03-21
US Dollars$168.00

About the Book

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.


'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

Table of Contents

Introduction: Is China Moving to a More Equitable Development Strategy?1. Can the Retreat from Equality Be Reversed? An Assessment of Redistributive Fiscal Policies from Deng Xiaoping to Wen Jiabao2. Has China Reached the Top of the Kuznets Curve?3. Local Governance, Health Financing, and Changing Patterns of Inequality in Access to Health Care 4. Paying for Education in Rural China5. Social Security in Transition 6. Investing in Rural China: Tracking China’s Commitment to Modernization 7. Who Receives Subsidies? A Look at the County Level in Two Time Periods 8. Local Governance, Policy Mandates and Fiscal Reform in China

About the Editors

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.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary China Series

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Economic Policy
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Social Classes