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Article
Publication date: 28 July 2020

Ge Yang and Shutian Cen

Over the past 20 years, China's infrastructure has developed at an extraordinary speed. The current literature mainly focuses on the effects of political incentives on the…

Abstract

Purpose

Over the past 20 years, China's infrastructure has developed at an extraordinary speed. The current literature mainly focuses on the effects of political incentives on the infrastructure. However, this paper indicates that the structural change of China's land regime is an important clue and that the supernormal development of China's infrastructure is an explicable result for that.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper theoretically proves that in a politically centralized and economically decentralized economic entity with a public land-ownership regime, the self-financing mechanism formed by local officials through regulation of the land-grant price is the primary factor that influences the optimal supply volume of infrastructure in a region, in addition to political and economic incentives, and whether the self-financing mechanism can be formed or not depends on the structure of a country's land regime, which can help to explain the difference between the development of infrastructure in China and that in other developing countries from a theoretical angle.

Findings

The paper suggests that the mode is facing an important transformation toward land reform and new-type urbanization construction, and the replication and promotion of China's experience in infrastructure construction are of further significance under the Belt and Road Initiative as it provides a method for helping developing countries to eliminate infrastructure bottlenecks.

Originality/value

Through the test of multinational panel data, the paper indicates that the structural change of China's land regime around 1990 had an overall effect on the supernormal development of infrastructure in China. The paper indicates that the “land-based development mode” of China's infrastructure indeed contributed to the supernormal development of infrastructure in China, but there are still some shortcomings in this mode.

Details

China Political Economy, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2516-1652

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