The Institutional Foundations of China's Reforms and Development

82 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2010

Date Written: March 20, 2010


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 'China puzzle' this paper analyses China's institution - a regionally decentralized authoritarian system. The central government has control over personnel, whereas sub-national 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.

Keywords: Institution, economic development, economic reform, China, decentralization, political economics, authoritarianism, federalism

JEL Classification: D02, D86, E02, E62, G20, G30, H11, H70, K00, O10, O53, P36

Suggested Citation

Xu, Chenggang, The Institutional Foundations of China's Reforms and Development (March 20, 2010). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7654, Available at SSRN:

Chenggang Xu (Contact Author)

University of Hong Kong ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Pokfulam HK

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics