DP13502 | Financial Revolution in Republican China during 1900-1937: a Survey and a New Interpretation

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02/01/2019

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Abstract

This paper surveys the phenomenal transformation of banking and finance, public debt and monetary regimes during 1900-1937, a period of great political instability in Chinese history. To understand why growth in these strategic sectors occurred, I highlight the role of the institutional nexus of Western treaty ports (with Shanghai being the most important) and China Maritime Customs service, a relatively autonomous tax bureaucracy. My new interpretation on the importance of this mechanism sheds new light on the role of Chinese political institutions, the impact of the West and the ongoing Great Divergence debate.