The Dynamic Relationships Between Public Spending, Economic Growth and Income Inequality in China
China’s economic development has performed spectacularly during the period of China’s economic transition as a result of radical economic reform in the all markets. The country has also gone through extensive fiscal reforms in the last three decades. However, a number of problems have been associated with such rapid economic growth. One of these has been raising inequality. In both Keynesian and neoclassical endogenous growth theories, public spending can play an important role for economic growth and inequality. The majority of previous studies have focused on the relationship between public spending and economic growth, or between public spending and inequality separately. There is no doubt that public spending has an effect on both economic growth and equity simultaneously. In this respect, this thesis attempts to address the problems that have emerged during the period of China’s fiscal reforms, and seeks to examine the effects of public spending on economic growth and equality in the same model. This thesis investigates the dynamic relationships among these three variables in China. For aggregate national data, vector error correction model (VECM) has been used. Analysis at the provincial level is based on the panel vector auto-regression (PVAR) model. These methods help to solve the endogeneity in estimations. The national level analysis indicates that total public spending shows a long term Granger causality with GDP per capita, which supports the positive growth effect of public spending in the Keynesian and endogenous growth model. Social public spending has a negative effect on real output per capita in both the short term and long term, but it also has a negative impact on income inequality. Moreover, we find that a higher level of real GDP per capita will increase the level of inequality, but a higher level of inequality has a negative effect on real GDP per capita in the long term. Furthermore, total provincial public spending and provincial social spending have either a non-significant effect on economic growth. On the other hand, the SOEs’ investment has a significant, positive growth effect at both the national and provincial level. As for the redistributive role of the public spending, the provincial total public spending and social spending have played an important role on income distribution. Furthermore, the Gini coefficient has a positive effect on the per capita growth rate at the provincial level, but the economic growth has no significant impact on the Gini coefficient.