Journal of East China Normal University(Educational Sciences) ›› 2022, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (10): 42-53.doi: 10.16382/j.cnki.1000-5560.2022.10.004

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Competitive Government: An Explanation for the Expansion of China’s Higher Education

Hui Liu, Junfeng Ma   

  1. School of Education, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 51006, China
  • Accepted:2022-05-20 Online:2022-10-01 Published:2022-09-29


The Chinese-style fiscal decentralization makes competitive governments the game process of “growth for competition”. The result has intensified the trend of higher education localization and expanded the scale of China’s higher education. Using the panel data of 30 provinces in China from 2004 to 2018, the paper explores the impact of fiscal decentralization and competitive government on the expansion of China’s higher education scale. The research found that fiscal decentralization has an inhibitory effect on the scale of local higher education, but competitive government has a significant improvement, and has a moderating effect on the adverse effects of fiscal decentralization on the scale of local higher education. After lagging the variable of competitive government, the estimated coefficient has dropped significantly, indicating that the expansion of higher education scale is likely to be the result of the immediate competition policy of the local government, and it is heterogeneous between the eastern and inland areas. It is necessary for the central government to correctly guide local governments to compete and transform the concept of competition.

Key words: higher education, education scale, competitive government, fiscal decentralization, yardstick competition