Date of Award

10-30-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Mark W. Rider - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Penelope B. Prime - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Roy W. Bahl - Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Shiferaw Gurmu - Committee Member

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Yongsheng Xu - Committee Member

Abstract

This dissertation 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. Chapter II examines the effects of both fiscal decentralization and horizontal fiscal equalization on economic growth in China, particularly the effect of the Tax Sharing System reform enacted in 1994. Compared with previous studies, using more complete data providing better measures and more econometrically sophisticated instrumental variable procedures, we find that there is no substantial evidence of a trade-off between horizontal fiscal equalization and growth. The 1994 Tax Sharing System reform has positively contributed to both economic growth and horizontal fiscal equalization. In addition, we find that fiscal decentralization (FD) has a non-linear effect on growth. For values of FD less than 21, fiscal decentralization has a negative effect on growth, but for values greater than 21, fiscal decentralization has a positive effect on growth. Chapter III examines the effects of both fiscal decentralization and horizontal fiscal equalization on economic growth in India, particularly the effects of the 1991 economic reforms. Using state-wide data covering the period from 1980 through 2005, we find that fiscal decentralization has a negative effect on economic growth initially but that, beyond a certain value of fiscal decentralization, the effect on growth becomes positive. However, further decentralization could have a negative effect on horizontal fiscal equalization. These results are robust. In the meanwhile, there is no evidence of a trade-off between horizontal fiscal equalization and economic growth; instead, there is evidence of a positive effect of economic growth on equalization. In addition, the 1991 economic reform has contributed to economic growth. A comparative study of China and India 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. An in-depth and more thorough going fiscal decentralization with greater emphasis on equalization of fiscal disparities are required in order to effect sustainable economic growth as well as social harmony in these two Asian countries.

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Economics Commons

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