16:00 | Thursday, September 9, 2021
Associate Professor, School Of Economics, Peking University
Max Yu Hao of Peking University and his co-author examine the role of the commitment problem within bureaucracy in explaining why formal taxation was low and, whereas informal levies could not be eradicated throughout the Qing period. During much of the Qing period, the central government collected most of formal land taxes, while provincial and county governments relied on unsupervised informal levies to finance their regular and irregular expenses, causing severe corruption and frequent tax protests by the commoners. The state made several attempts to solve this problem by allowing locals to collect a fixed amount of land surtax, which was shared among the provinces and counties, and spent on specified expenditure items. This was viewed as fiscal rationalization reforms (Zelin, 1984). However, such rationalization was incomplete without solving the commitment problem within bureaucracy. In particular, fiscal transparency made it easier for the upper governments to collect lower revenues at their wills or divert lower revenues to upper expenditures. Such “commitment failure” forced ill-financed local governments to extract excessive extralegal levies from peasants, which ultimately caused tax revolts. So ironically, reforms intended for eradicating informal levies resulted in even more informal levies and tax revolts, consistent with the theoretical proposal by Ma and Rubin (2018).
In this Quantitative History Webinar, Max Yu Hao will present a trilogy of papers*** exploring the impact of fiscal rationalizations on public goods provision, the size of informal taxation, and tax burdens. Overall, the findings help explain why fiscal rationalization was always unsuccessful, and state capacity remained low throughout the late Imperial China, and this problem remains unresolved.
Live on Zoom on September 9, 2021
16:00 Hong Kong/Beijing/Singapore
09:00 London | 17:00 Tokyo | 18:00 Sydney
*** The papers covered in Max's trilogy are listed below::
Thursday, September 9, 2021
Max Yu Hao
The Quantitative History (QH) Webinar Series aims to provide researchers, teachers, and students with an online intellectual platform to keep up to date with the latest research in the field, promoting the dissemination of research findings and interdisciplinary use of quantitative methods in historical research. The QH Webinar Series, now entering its fourth year, is co-organized by Centre for Quantitative History at the HKU Business School and International Society for Quantitative History in partnership with Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Series is now substantially supported by the Areas of Excellence (AoE) Scheme from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. [AoE/B-704/22-R]). 量化歷史網上講座系列由香港大學陳志武和馬馳騁教授聯合發起，旨在介紹前沿量化歷史研究成果、促進同仁交流，推廣量化方法在歷史研究中的應用。本系列講座由香港大學經管學院量化歷史研究中心和國際量化歷史學會承辦，及香港人文社會研究所全力支持。從2023年開始，系列得到中國香港特別行政區研究資助局卓越學科領域計劃的重要資助 (項目編號[AoE/B-704/22-R])。
Conveners: Professor Zhiwu Chen & Dr. Chicheng Ma (HKU Business School)
The International Society for Quantitative History (ISFQH) is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting, supporting, and enhancing the advancement of education, in particular research and knowledge dissemination in quantitative history, in Hong Kong and other parts of the world.