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Placing China’s Land Marketization: The State, Market, and Changing Geography of Land Use in Chinese Cities

Authors: Ronghao Jiang*,
Topics: China, Urban Geography, Land Use
Keywords: Land marketization; transitional economy; state-market relation; Neoliberalization; Chinese cities
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Existing theorization of the processes of urban transformation worldwide has been based upon diverse interpretations of the interplay between the state and market forces. Studies of the growth and transformation of Chinese cities have been characterized by continuing debates between those who insisted on the pivotal role played by the Chinese Party-state and others who see urban China moving decisively toward capitalism. This research examines the pattern and process of land marketization in urban China as a case to understand the interaction between the state and market forces in China’s ongoing urban transformation. Statistical analysis of the data for the Chinese cities at and above the prefectural level for the years of 2003-2017 has identified an uneven geography of land marketization effectively shaped by a localization of state-market interplay. A significant and positive correlation is found between the degree of land finance and extent of land marketization. The uneven geography of land marketization is found to be significantly influenced by the legacy of the socialist planned economy as measured by the dominance of state-owned enterprises. However, the strength and direction of the correlation between the state and market are found to be contingent upon the level of urban economic growth. Spatial variation in land marketization is also found to be shaped by the degree of openness, local state policies toward land supply, population density, and size of the city. Findings of this research call for a theoretical reconsideration of the state-market relationship in urban transformation more attentive to local condition.

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