Is Fiscal Decentralization Good for Economic Growth?

Yinghua Jin

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This book provides an empirical test of the effects of fiscal decentralization and horizontal fiscal equalization on economic growth and examines the potential trade-off between horizontal fiscal equalization and economic growth in both China and India. A comparative study of these two neighbours in Asia has shown that the degree of fiscal decentralization in both countries is far from the point where its effect on economic growth becomes positive. Despite the dangers of widening disparities in terms of interregional fiscal resource distribution from further decentralization, no substantial evidence shows a trade-off between horizontal fiscal equalization and growth in either country. In addition, both the 1994 Tax Sharing System (TSS) reform in China and the 1991 economic reforms in India have contributed to economic growth. An in-depth and more thorough going fiscal decentralization with greater emphasis on equalization of fiscal disparities are required in order to assure sustainable economic growth as well as social harmony in these two Asian countries.

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