This paper presents new archival evidence about amount and structure of central government disaster relief during China’s devastating flood of 1823. While the flood affected 20 percent of China’s counties, spending per capita was sizable and distributed between provinces depending on the intensity of flooding. However, because of its small relative size and thus limited state capacity the Chinese government had to spend about half of annual tax income on relief during 1823. We thus conclude that short-term disaster relief was prioritized by the Qing administration over long-term investments, which may have contributed to its secular economic stagnation.
|Naam||EHES Working Paper Series|
|Uitgeverij||European Historical Economics Society|