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China’s Long-Term Economic Development

How Have Economy and Governance Evolved since 500 BC?

Hongjun Zhao

This book examines the evolution of Chinese governmental governance and its long-lasting impact on Chinese economic development, firstly by examining the formation of Chinese style governance, the core contents of this governance and its vitality compared to other governance patterns in Chinese history. Secondly, this book discusses the effectiveness of this governance in supporting economic development before the Song dynasty and its failure in serving economic development during the past three to five centuries. Ultimately, Hongjun Zhao predicts the direction Chinese governance will take in the next 20 years.
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Chapter 4: The petty peasant economy and the formation of Chinese-style governmental governance

Hongjun Zhao


This chapter discusses the formation and consolidation of the petty peasant economy in Chinese history and the efficiency advantage, status, and impacts of it in Chinese economy and society. The author analyses its important institutional connection with Chinese governance using a long-term institutional framework, discusses its main characteristics and its impact on the inertial pattern of Chinese governance, and finally, draws the conclusion that the economic nature of centralized governance in Chinese history is an institutional equilibrium.

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