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June 29 , 2007

Paying for Progress in China

Public Finance, Human Welfare and Changing Patterns of Inequality


China’s stunning record of economic development since the 1970s has been marred by an increasingly obvious gap between the country’s ‘haves’ and its ‘have-nots’. While people living in some parts of the country have enjoyed dramatically improved conditions of life, those in other districts and regions have slipped ever further behind in terms of access to health, wealth, education, security and opportunity.

Paying for Progress in China is a collection of essays which trace the causes of this growing inequality, using new data including surveys, interviews, newly available official statistics and in-depth fieldwork. Their findings expose the malfunctioning of China’s ‘broken’ intergovernmental fiscal system, which has exacerbated the disequalizing effects of emerging market forces. Whilst the government’s deliberately ‘pro-poor’ development policies have in recent years sought to reduce the gap between rich and poor, both markets, and also state institutions and policies, are continuing to create perverse equity outcomes across the country, confounding hopes for better-balanced and more inclusive growth in China.

The interdisciplinary approach of this collection, incorporating work by economists, sociologists and political scientists, makes it a valuable resource for students of contemporary Chinese political economy and social development.

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