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The Politics of Poverty Mis-targeting in China

Based upon a county level analysis, this article explores the complex processes of poverty mis-targeting in China and supplements the pre-existing literature with a bottom-up analysis. It argues that the rational calculations of key county leaders, shaped by a combination of formal and informal institutions, determine whether a county, irrespective of poverty level, competes for the title of “state-designated poorest county (SDPC).” This article also demonstrates that the interaction between formal and informal institutions is dynamic and subject to change. For future relevant research, this article suggests to analyze the practice of poverty reduction in a disaggregated manner by examining the interplay within and among different levels of government.

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Correspondence to Juan Wang.

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Juan Wang, a Ph.D candidate in political science at Johns Hopkins University, is the author of “Going beyond Township and Village Enterprises,” Journal of Contemporary China, Issue 14, Volume 42, (February 2005), pp.171–181. The author is particularly grateful to Kellee Tsai for her valuable suggestions and support throughout this project. I am indebted to William Rowe, Mark Blyth, Wang Sangui and anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments. The Institute of Global Studies (IGS) of Johns Hopkins University receives my gratitude for its financial support of this project.

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Wang, J. The Politics of Poverty Mis-targeting in China. J OF CHIN POLIT SCI 12, 219–236 (2007).

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  • Poverty mis-targeting
  • rationality
  • formal institution
  • informal institution
  • China