China and Inner Asia
Organized Panel Session
This paper unveils how over the Ming-Qing transition, officials managed to overcome the asymmetries of accounting information between the central and local administration. While this problem had occupied the Ming, until 1628, the Department of Household at the capital still had no systematic data of the silver revenue converted from labor services and remained land tax. In the late 16th century and early 17thcentury, many high provincial officials began to independently edit Complete Book of Land Tax and Services (CBLTS) for regulating their subordinate governments’ tax collection and expenditure. Bi Ziyan, the minister of the Department of Household in the Chongzhen reign (r. 1628-1644) tried to turn CBLTS from a provincial managing tool to the means of centralization but failed. By editing CBLTS's of nearly all provinces under supervision of the central government, the Qing Dynasty established its centralized fiscal system on a basis of much more complete accounting information than that of Ming.