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The selectively informal practices of Chinese local governments in land market

Authors: Jinshuo Wang*, Radboud University
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Land Use
Keywords: Informality; Value capture; Land market; Local government strategy; China
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Informal practices can be strategies for local governments to achieve goals of economic and social development. Land leasing has been a vital approach to promote urbanization and local economic development in China, and the importance of land revenues as a local financial resource has attracted much attention. While new regulation has increasingly ‘formalized’ land leasing by introducing an auction-based system, still more informal practices of land transfer remain as well. So far, few studies have explored the characteristics and driving forces of local governments’ informal practices with respect to the transfer of land. In this paper, we analyze the changing temporal and spatial patterns of the informal behaviors of local governments in the commercial and residential land market, and explore the possible causes through a regression analysis, based on a prefecture-level panel dataset from 2004 to 2016. The results indicate that, on the one hand, in order to capture land revenue for urban infrastructure development, local governments tend to enhance the formality and transparency with regard to the leasing of residential and commercial land. On the other hand, the informality degree may increase, especially in less-developed regions, as a result of local governments’ use of land leasing strategies to achieve their social goals with respect to affordable housing supply. Generally, land transaction behaviors of local governments in China vary in accordance with local economic and social conditions and development priorities.

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