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The Institutional Evolution of China

Government vs Market

Fan Zhang

China’s experience over the past decades is not just a story of economic growth, it is also one of institutional change. The current political-economic system is a bureaucratic market system, in which the government and the market both coexist and conflict with each other. This book gives a detailed description of the institutional evolution in China, using large amounts of documents and cases. The book provides a theory explaining the origin of China’s reform, the political and economic forces driving the reform, and the reasoning behind the stagnation and turn-over of reform.
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Chapter 6: The post-reform period: 2012–present

Fan Zhang


In this period, the leadership put most of its efforts into changing the government ruling structure and fighting corruption in the party and in the government, which has been successful to certain degree. This second wave of adjustment of the reform strategy re-concentrated power into the central government in order to solve problems of corruption and loosening control. The direct cost of the re-concentration of power is the loss of incentives of government officials, especially the local government officials. In this period, the consensus on market-oriented economic reform has weakened further, and reform in the direction of marketisation has not made much progress. Economic reform is far from finished and the state-owned enterprises still dominate the upstream resource-intensive sectors.

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