High Corruption Income in Ming and Qing China

Posted: 21 Dec 2008

See all articles by Shawn X. Ni

Shawn X. Ni

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics

Van H. Pham

Baylor University - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2006

Abstract

We develop an economic model that explains historical data on government corruption in Ming and Qing China. In our model, officials' extensive powers result in corrupt income matching land's share in output. We estimate corrupt income to be between 14 to 22 times official income resulting in about 22% of agricultural output accruing to 0.4% of the population. The results suggest that eliminating corruption through salary reform was possible in early Ming but impossible by mid-Qing rule. Land reform may also be ineffective because officials could extract the same rents regardless of ownership. High officials' incomes and the resulting inequality may have also created distortions and barriers to change that could have contributed to China's stagnation over the five centuries 1400-1900s.

Keywords: Corruption, China

JEL Classification: O10, O53

Suggested Citation

Ni, Shawn X. and Pham, Van H., High Corruption Income in Ming and Qing China (December 1, 2006). Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 81, 2006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1318688

Shawn X. Ni

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics ( email )

118 Professional Building
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-6878 (Phone)
573-882-2697 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.missouri.edu/~econni/

Van H. Pham (Contact Author)

Baylor University - Department of Economics ( email )

One Bear Place #98003
Waco, TX 76798
United States
(254) 710-3521 (Phone)
(254) 710-6142 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.baylor.edu/van_pham

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