Working Paper
Economic Reforms and Infrastructure Spending

Evidence from China and India

This paper examines the country specific effect of policy reform on infrastructure spending in China and India. In China we have examined how marketization and decentralization has affected the composition of provincial public expenditure and in the case of India we have examined the impact of fiscal reforms on sub-national infrastructure spending. It is observed that in China with a lower marketization level in 1986–1992, fiscal decentralization had positive effect on development expenditure and negative effect on other expenditure. However, when the marketization level increased, such effects were reversed. In the case of India, the econometric estimates revealed that, in the post-economic liberalization era, financial sector reforms and fiscal reforms have adversely affected the sub-national finances and thereby the infrastructure spending. The fiscal intervention dummy found to be negative for all the sectoral expenditure, though it was expansionary for total expenditure, implying it to be committed/non-developmental expenditure driven. Thus, to conclude, as the fiscal space has been shrinking due to reform, there is an urgent need and more so in India for corrective measures to increase the fiscal space for higher infrastructure spending.