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Chinese Political Science Review

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 115–128 | Cite as

The Changing Face of China’s Local Elite: Elite Advantage and Path Dependence in Business Communities

Original Article

Abstract

There has been considerable discussion about whether and how China’s political economy will change with economic growth and development. The debate has focused for the most part on the possibilities for either market transition or continued path dependence, and in particular, research has centred on the emergence of business activities and the changing role of local business elites. The results of interviews with 469 members of the new economic elites in five cities suggest that while local politics may indeed have adjusted to the new environment, in elite formation, the market plays a role alongside and sometimes secondary to status and political power. There is a significant pattern of elite privilege that reaches back into the era of state socialism, with further origins for some to be found in the pre-1949 local elites. Even where there are reasons to be sceptical about long-term status claims, there can be no gainsaying the strength of such narratives as motivational forces in business and elite behaviour.

Keywords

China Local Business elites 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Research for this project was supported by the Australian Research Council through Discovery Grant DP DP0984495. Interviews were undertaken in Lanzhou 13 July 2010–1 November 2011, in Nanjing 25 July 2012–7 May 2013, in Qingdao 26 July 2009–16 December 2010, in Taiyuan 23 April 2010–14 July 2011, and in Zhongshan 5 July 2010–23 May 2012.

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Copyright information

© Fudan University and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of China StudiesXi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool UniversitySuzhouChina

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