The Chinese Tax System: Where It Stands and How We Should Study It

Research output: Working paper


This book chapter offers an overview of where China’s tax system stands, critically assesses recent scholarship on Chinese taxation, and urges researchers to attend more to normative questions of tax design (e.g., economic efficiency and redistribution). After surveying major tax instruments deployed in China today, the chapter reviews recent studies of taxation’s impact on the Chinese economy, arguing that such scholarship often falls short of providing systematic support for policy analyses, and that ignoring normative questions in tax design leads to poor conceptual framing in positive analyses. The chapter then considers some themes at the intersection between Chinese political institutions and public finance: political incentives for raising revenue, tax competition, and business-government relations. It argues that scholars should better articulate what follows from their conclusions in terms of either theory or policy. Finally, the chapter discusses how scholarship on tax administration and compliance contributes to our understanding of Chinese political economy.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2024

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