Authoritarian Institutions, China Style

  • Hans H. TungEmail author
Part of the Politics and Development of Contemporary China book series (PDCC)


This chapter places the ideas of authoritarian institutions as well as the power-sharing scheme in the Chinese context. The analysis not only helps us understand how China’s authoritarian institutions were initially designed by Deng Xiaoping and how they structured the elite’s/bureaucrats’ incentives, but also, more crucially, sheds light on how the dictator’s growth curse transpired in China’s institutional/political landscape. It lays the groundwork for the following case study on China’s trade policymaking, where I provide more detailed narratives on how the authoritarian institutions determined the resource allocations related to international trade and the economic growth gave rise to the centrifugal effect on the dictator–elite relationship.


  1. Bates, Robert H., Avner Greif, Margaret Levi, Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, and Barry R. Weingast. 1998. Analytic Narratives. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, Alastair Smith, Randolph M. Siverson, and James D. Morrow. 2003. The Logic of Political Survival. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dixit, Avinash K. 2002. Incentives and Organizations in the Public Sector: An Interpretative Review. Journal of Human Resources 37 (4): 696–727.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Oi, Jean. 1999. Rural China Takes Off: Institutional Foundations of Economic Reform. Berkeley: Berkeley University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Rodrik, Dani., ed. 2003. In Search of Prosperity: Analytic Narratives on Economic Growth. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Shirk, Susan L. 1993. The Political Logic of Economic Reform in China. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Shirk, Susan L. 1994. How China Opened Its Door: The Political Success of the PRC’s Foreign Trade and Investment Reforms. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2007. China: Fragile Superpower: How China’s Internal Politics Could Derail Its Peaceful Rise. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Tao, Yi-Feng. 2001. The Evolution of Central-Provincial Relations in Post-Mao China, 1978–98: An Event History Analysis of Provincial Leader Turnover. Issues and Studies 37 (4): 90–120.Google Scholar
  10. Wedeman, Andrew. 1999. Agency and Fiscal Dependence in Central-Provincial Relations in China. Journal of Contemporary China 8 (20): 103–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. ———. 2001. Incompetence, Noise, and Fear in Central-Local Relations in China. Studies in Comparative International Development 35 (4): 59–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Xu, Chenggang. 2011. The Fundamental Institutions of China’s Reforms and Development. Journal of Economic Literature 49 (4): 1076–1151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Yang, Dali. 1996. Governing China’s Transition to the Market: Institutional Incentives, Politicians’ Choices, and Unintended Outcomes. World Politics 48 (3): 424–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science/Center for Research in Econometric Theory and ApplicationsNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations