China’s recent evolution is not only a story of extraordinary economic growth but also a story of great institutional change. Fan Zhang challenges traditional theory to explain the real origins of China’s reform, the political and economic forces driving it, and the reasoning behind its stagnation. The institutional re-arrangement of government and market has been crucial in this marketization process.
Using a wealth of documents and cases, Zhang provides a detailed analysis of China’s institutional changes over the past 40 years, focusing on the government-market relationship. A theoretical framework is presented to explain the targets and incentives of government and business firms in a bureaucratic-market system, which promoted economic growth, but also fostered corruption and resulted in a re-centralisation of the system. Using an index of marketization in China since 1978, Zhang shows that overall, market expansion has continued but with diminishing marginal gains. The government control of financial resources that had previously been relaxed in the early years of reform has been enhanced to some extent as a result of the changing institutional environment.
Policy makers dealing with China-related policies, researchers and postgraduate students in political science, economics and Chinese studies will find this book a compelling exploration of the current and constant cooperation and conflict between government and market.