Interprovincial and Regional Inequity in the Financing of Compulsory Education in China

The Impact and Transformation of Education Policy in China

ISBN: 978-1-78052-186-2, eISBN: 978-1-78052-187-9

ISSN: 1479-3679

Publication date: 30 December 2011


Based on government data from 1993 to 2008, this chapter aims to compute and analyze the trends of inequity in interprovincial and regional per-student spending in China's compulsory education, and to ascertain the potential impact of changes in education financing policies. Appropriate inequity measures (Gini and Theil index and Gini decomposition, among others) are employed to provide a systematic picture of the trends. Main findings include: (1) all inequity measures show large and overall increased disparities among provinces and among regions, between 1993 and 2008. (2) However, a slight drop of spending inequity is observed at the primary education level around 2002 and a larger reduction in 2005 and on. There are more turning points in the trend of lower-secondary per-student spending among provinces. These patterns are consistent across different inequity measures and spending indicators (per-student total spending, per-student recurrent spending, and per-student nonpersonnel spending). (3) The trend toward more balanced resource allocation around 2002 and 2005 could be the impact from the Reform of Tax and Administrative Charges and the New Mechanism for Financing Rural Compulsory Education. An increased share of budgetary expenditure in determining total spending suggests that equalizing financing policies have the potential to induce a significant reduction in spending inequity. These findings may help policy makers to better understand and alter the extent of spending inequity in compulsory education. This is an original empirical study that systematically derives the spending inequity trends over a long period in China's compulsory education.



Gong, X. and Tsang, M. (2011), "Interprovincial and Regional Inequity in the Financing of Compulsory Education in China", Huang, T. and Wiseman, A. (Ed.) The Impact and Transformation of Education Policy in China (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 43-78.

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