Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 675–689 | Cite as

Economic Growth or Sowing the Seeds of Destruction? The Role of Economic Development Zones in China

  • April A. HerleviEmail author


Special economic zone (SEZ) programs in China have played a major role in the Chinese political economy. To examine SEZs, I address three questions. Are zones effective? What are the origins of SEZs? How do zones evolve? I argue that the origin of zones is under-theorized. Examining zone enactment is necessary for studying land-use patterns and urbanization. We must also pay closer attention to the level of analysis and evolution of zones over time. Clarifying the level of analysis will improve our understanding of the distribution of preferential policies across China. Understanding zone evolution will help scholars and practitioners assess when and how SEZs are an effective economic policy tool.


China Political economy Special economic zones Economic intervention Development 


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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