The Behavioral Logic and Institutional Basis of Chinese Local Developmental Government

  • Jianxing Yu
  • Xiang GaoEmail author


In China, local government is characterized as developmental government as they consider promoting regional economic growth as their main target after 1978. Such behavioral patterns cannot be adequately explained by theories of “Fiscal Federalism with Chinese Characteristics” and “Decentralized Authoritarianism.” The dominance of fiscal revenue maximization on the behaviors of local governments does not suggest that a decentralized financial system is a necessary condition for the formation of a local developmental government. After decentralization in the 1980s, the horizontal accountability system did not have effective control over the behaviors of local governments, whereas the vertical accountability system with the core of personnel power also has obvious limitations. Due to information asymmetry and other reasons, the central government hardly had the infrastructure power of shaping the behavioral pattern of the local government. Both the defects of the horizontal accountability system and the limitation of the vertical accountability system have propelled the maximization of fiscal revenue to become the dominant logic guiding the behaviors of local government, and have led to their selective fulfillment of their functions.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public AffairsZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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