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Title: The Discontinuation of a Vicious Cycle? The Evolutionary Contour of China's Central-Local Relations, 1978-2018
Authors: 徐斯勤
Contributors: Issues & Studies
Keywords: Central-local relations ; vicious cycle of decentralization and recentralization ; rebalancing ; fiscal policy ; investment policy ; personnel management policy
Date: 2020-03
Issue Date: 2020-11-16 14:37:34 (UTC+8)
Abstract: As a retrospective exploration of China's central-local relations over the past four decades of the reform era, this paper argues that since the mid-1990s, relations have evolved with a growing likelihood to break away from the vicious cycle of decentralization and recentralization since 1949. China’s post-reform era started in synchronization with a sweeping move toward decentralization, a trend which generated a myriad of systemic crises that threatened the legitimacy and survival of the regime. Thus, the mid-1990s saw a systematic rollback of decentralization. This rollback is to be understood as a comprehensive scheme of rebalancing rather than a mere replication of pre-reform recentralization. On the other hand, the rebalancing has still occurred in consistence with a cyclical pattern that had characterized the broadly conceived regularity of decentralization and recentralization. While the rebalancing has not been immune from various pathologies, the central state has selected to make contingent and marginal adaptations to cope with the problems instead of shattering the current framework of rebalancing and returning completely to decentralization. Instead of relying solely on original research, this paper will bolster its main argument by conducting a synthetic reasoning from a rich array of extant analyses to sketch out the contours of China's central-local relations in fiscal, investment, and personnel management policy areas during the past four decades.
Relation: Issues & Studies, 56-1, p1-32
Data Type: article
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