skip to contents.

Fiscal Decentralization, Chinese Style: Good for Health Outcomes?

Discussion Papers


by UCHIMURA Hiroko and Johannes Jütting
July 2007


This study analyzes the effect of fiscal decentralization on health outcomes in China using a panel data set with nationwide county-level data. We find that counties in more fiscal decentralized provinces have lower infant mortality rates compared to those counties in which the provincial government retains the main spending authority, if certain conditions are met. Spending responsibilities at the local level need to be matched with county government’s own fiscal capacity. For those local governments that have only limited revenues, their ability to spend on local public goods such as health care depends crucially upon intergovernmental transfers. The findings of this study thereby support the common assertion that fiscal decentralization can indeed lead to more efficient production of local public goods, but also highlights the necessary conditions to make this happen.

Keywords: fiscal decentralization, health outcomes, China

PDF pdf (209KB)

Please note that discussion papers are works in various stages of progress and most have not been edited and proofread and may contain errors of fact or judgment. Revised versions of these papers may subsequently appear in more formal publication series. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s). The IDE does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included and accepts no responsibility for any consequences arising from its use.