East Asia

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 63–78 | Cite as

The political economy of judicial corruption in China: a spatial relationship

  • Hongyu ZhangEmail author
  • Steve Kaszycki


Like other developing countries, China has been struggling with corruption. Judicial corruption, in particular, damages the rule of law and presents a market disruption as an outcome of a lack of commitment by the government regarding property rights. This article seeks to explain the variations in judicial corruption within China, and it develops a theory of city-level corruption of judges. The theory is tested by an empirical study with data from the World Bank corruption survey using a Bayesian spatial linear model. While wealth appears to diminish corruption, there is also a strong spatial relationship with regard to the level of judicial corruption in China, indicating that as some regions become less corrupt, surrounding areas also experience a diminution in corruption. Thus, through a process organic to the current regime, China could experience an increase in judicial trustworthiness.


China Corruption Judicial trust Regional variation Spatial relationship 



The authors are grateful for the two anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful suggestions, which helped the revision of this article. The authors also thank Robert Grafstein, Rongbin Han and Ning Liao for their constructive comments. All errors remain to their own.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GovernmentThe College of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceThe University of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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