Learning from Chengdu
Basic public services provide security and a social safety net for the poor, elderly, sick, and others in times of need. In market economies, provision of basic public services makes up for market failure. Most Western economists feel that, as public goods, basic public services should be non-excludable and non-competitive– so that no individual user is excluded and an individual user’s usage of the public services should not reduce its availability to others. In China basic public services are based on the constitution and laws and delivered through a variety of institutional arrangements and mechanisms. The level of public services different levels of government in China feel they can and should provide is based on the level of socioeconomic development in the jurisdiction and ideology about the proper role of government versus markets (Chen and Yuezhou, 2007). Generally the level of public services increases with socioeconomic development.
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