Zhang, J., & Zhao, R. (2022). The effect of population aging on pension enforcement: Do firms bear the burden? Economic Inquiry, 60(4), 1644-1662. Preprint
Zhang, J., Li, X., & Tang, J. (2022). Effect of public expenditure on fertility intention to have a second child or more: Evidence from China's CGSS survey data. Cities, 128, 103812. Preprint
Zhao, R., & Zhang, J.*. (2022). Rent-tax substitution and its impact on firms: Evidence from housing purchase limits policy in China. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 96, 103804. Presentations: 15th Economics Graduate Student Conference (EGSC) 2020 and 90th SEA Annual Conference 2020. Preprint
Zhao, R. and Zhang, J. (2022). Local judicial system reform and corporate investment: Evidence from unified management of local courts below the province. China Economic Quarterly International, 2(4), 290-303.
*: corresponding author
Does Elite Capture Matter? Local Political Elites and the Targeted Poverty Alleviation Strategy in China with Jie Tang and Xia Li (Under Review, PDF) Presentations (including scheduled): 98th WEAI Annual Conference 2023.
China has implemented a nationwide poverty alleviation campaign, called the targeted poverty alleviation (TPA) strategy, to achieve the national goal of completely eradicating poverty by the end of 2020. However, the capture of political elites is considered an obstacle to achieving this goal. This paper investigates whether political elite capture exists in TPA based on the specific targeting strategy using the “Thousand-Person Hundred-Village” survey dataset in 2017. Overall, TPA is not subject to political elite capture in practice and deliberately excludes political elite households from the strategy. Here, we present three main findings. First, the probability of political elite households registering in the national poverty database (jiandanglika) under TPA is approximately 12.5% lower than that of non-elite households. Second, we found that the lower registration probability of political elite households was mainly reflected in households with committee members in the village. Third, political elite connections increase the likelihood of political elite households receiving general government transfers, suggesting that political elite capture still exists in other public welfare programs.
It is widely believed that political hierarchy correlates with regional economic development. This paper investigates how different political hierarchies of cities in the context of China affect the local economy from different perspectives. We first examine the differences between prefectural cities and municipalities (provincial cities) in their own economic development and spillover effects on surrounding areas. In addition, this paper additionally draws upon a quasi-experiment in upgrading Chongqing to a municipality in 1997 on economic development, using the synthetic control method. The results show that the city-upgrading policy significantly increased Chongqing’s GDP in the following four years. Finally, we identify the positive spillover effects of the upgrade of Chongqing on the surrounding economy. The results show that the city-upgrading policy increases GDP in the treated cities located within the 1000-kilometer distance from Chongqing by approximately 11%-13% relative to other cities in the control zone.
Economic Growth, Fiscal Inequality, and Fiscal Decentralization (under review, PDF)
This paper investigates the impact of fiscal inequality on regional economic growth under two different fiscal systems in China by adopting the event-study method. The "event" is the tax-sharing reform, switching from the "Fiscal Responsibility System" (FRS, 1987-1993), to the "Tax Sharing System" (TSS, 1994-present). I present three primary findings: First, there are different impacts of overall fiscal inequality on economic growth pre-and post-1994. Second, fiscal decentralization on the expenditure side could improve regional growth in China. Finally, the use of extra-budgetary funds could reduce the economic growth gap between rich and poor provinces.
Local Fiscal Competition and Deficits in China with Timothy J. Goodspeed (Draft available upon request)
This paper adds to the literature by examining fiscal competition and deficit financing by local governments in a developing country, China. We examine a unique revenue source in China, land-use premiums (a type of property tax), in a panel dataset consolidated at the prefectural level from 2006 to 2016. Our results indicate that fiscal competition in land-use premiums exists and is stronger among wealthier than poorer local governments, a result that supports the view of Cai and Treisman (2005) that competition among asymmetrically endowed regions can lead to less discipline. Moreover, we find higher local deficits are associated with lower land-use premiums, a result that suggests that the local government does not fill any fiscal gap with own revenues.