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Institutional environment, development model transformation and North–South economic disparity in China

Dongshui Xie, Caiquan Bai and Weiwei Xiao

Growth and Change, 2022, vol. 53, issue 4, 1877-1906

Abstract: From the perspective of the institutional environment, this study explores the reasons and mechanisms behind the widening of the economic disparity between China's North and South during the economic development transformation from a factor expansion model to an innovation‐driven model. By defining the institutional environment in terms of the government–market relationship and the non‐state‐owned economy development, the theoretical analysis shows that compared with the South, the government intervenes more in the market and the proportion of state‐owned economy is higher in the North. The differences in the institutional environment are an important reason for the widening of the North–South economic disparity in China during the transformation of China's development model. Taking this transformation after the 2008 international financial crisis as a quasi‐natural experiment, this study constructs a difference‐in‐difference model for empirical testing based on the differences in the regional impact of the economic development model transformation on different institutional environments. It was found that after the economic development model entered the innovation‐driven stage, those regions with a better institutional environment significantly promoted their economic growth. Further mechanism tests have found that innovation capability is an important mechanism for the institutional environment that affects the North–South economic disparity.

Date: 2022
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