Citizen Expectations and Improvement of Government Functions: A Study of Importance and Performance of Budgetary Demands in China
- 公共事务－已发表论文 
How should the government allocate fiscal resources among different sectors in order to satisfy the needs and expectations of its citizens? This question is worth considering because public finance in China has increased at a rate much higher than that of GDP in recent years. Based on a classification of public expenditures, we classify public services and goods provided by the Chinese government into five functions: the administrative, law and order, developmental, welfare, and humanitarian functions. We employ key findings from a survey provided by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) questioning the importance and performance of different programs in a questionnaire sent to young educated citizens the leaders and administration of tomorrow. The findings of the survey indicate the highest priority of the five state functions was as follows: welfare, humanitarian, developmental, law and order, and administrative. A comparison between this priority ranking and the actual spending levels indicates that the two sets of preferences roughly correspond, with one exception: the developmental function ranks as the top priority in actual spending but third priority in public expectations. If the expectations found in this survey reflect the broader public views, the survey suggests that, to be more responsive, the Chinese government needs to reallocate its fiscal resources towards welfare and humanitarian functions.