The Mandarin Model of Growth
45 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2018 Last revised: 13 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 2018
China's economic reforms over the past 40 years have led to a mixed economic structure with the government playing a key role in an increasingly market-driven economy. This paper expands a standard growth model of Barro (1990) to incorporate this structure, with a particular focus on including the agency problem between the central and local governments. To incentivize local governors, the central government has established an economic tournament, which generates not only intended incentives to develop local economies, à la Holmstrolm (1982), but also short-termist behaviors, à la Stein (1989). The latter channel helps to explain a series of challenges that confront the Chinese economy, such as overleverage through shadow banking and unreliable economic statistics.
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