Interaction between Geography and Policy: Variation in Development Performance within China's Eastern Zone

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This paper examines the trend of variation in development performance within

China's Eastern Zone and the underlying mechanism of the changing trend. Empirical descriptions as well as analyses are provided based on the comparison between data on development performance of regions and provinces and records of policy transformation from 1949 to the end of 20th century. Furthermore, a comparative case study on two of China's leading provinces in the Eastern Zone, Guangdong and Shanghai, is conducted in order to reveal how the interplay of differences in geographical conditions and policy makes contributions to their development disparities in Maoist development period and post-Mao development period. This study finds that development as well as policy advantages are not unevenly shared in China or in China's Eastern Zone. Furthermore, the study reveals that a two-way interaction between policy and certain aspects of geographical conditions exists and it gives rise to development disparities in China's Eastern Zone. According to detailed analysis, there are two main channels through which the interaction functions. On the one hand, geographical conditions act as an important shaping force underlying policy formulation and then a specific set of policy is issued to assist development of a specific province based on the influence of its geographical conditions. On the other hand, the influence of geographical conditions comes to shape development performance directly even at the time when a similar set of policy is carried out by provinces.





Huang, Huang (2015). Interaction between Geography and Policy: Variation in Development Performance within China's Eastern Zone. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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