Elite Cleavage and the Rise of Capitalism Under Authoritarianism: A Tale of Two Provinces in China

Qi ZHANG, Mingxing LIU, Dong ZHANG, Victor SHIH

Research output: Working paperWorking paper series

Abstract

A great challenge for capitalist development under authoritarian regimes is to effectively constrain predatory behavior. Beyond existing frameworks of the dictator’s time horizon and institutionalized power sharing, we introduce an alternative perspective—elite cleavage. We argue that the systematic vulnerability of marginalized local cadres motivated them to ally with grassroots constituents and protect local economic interests in order to increase the odds of political survival. Difference-in-differences analysis of counties in two Chinese provinces shows that the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution created a moment of political decentralization which enabled marginalized local elites to protect local entrepreneurs against national-level radical policies, resulting in much more vibrant private economic activities in some regions. Further empirical evidence shows that elite cleavages formed in the 1940s had a long-lasting impact on economic performance in the reform era.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2018

Publication series

Name21st Century China Center Research Paper
PublisherSchool of Global Policy and Strategy, UC SanDiego
No.2018-06

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Elite Cleavage and the Rise of Capitalism Under Authoritarianism: A Tale of Two Provinces in China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this