International Development Planning Review

Chinese local state entrepreneurialism: A case study of Changchun

International Development Planning Review (2009), 31, (2), 199–220.

Abstract

Since the 1980s, China has been undertaking a transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy through decentralisation, giving local states more decision-making power and providing incentives to apply entrepreneurial policies. This policy has been successful in terms of economic development. The average annual GDP growth of China has been maintained at a rate of above 10 per cent during the last three decades. After evaluating and explaining different definitions of entrepreneurialism in the literature, and incorporating the process and impacts of transition to a market economy in China, the authors interpret the 'entrepreneurial city' as a type of local state entrepreneurialism from perspectives of risk management and the reorganisation of local governance for the promotion of economic competitiveness. This article uses Changchun to examine the argument that local state entrepreneurialism is mainly determined by the endogenous impulses of a city, although there are some exogenous influences. Through an assessment of the evolution of local state entrepreneurialism in Changchun, the authors conclude that the process of Chinese local state entrepreneurialism is different from other countries for two reasons: the strong influence of the government's force in economic development, and the fact that the legacies of the centrally planned economy have to be addressed while promoting entrepreneurialism.

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