Chinese People's Congresses and Legislative Embeddedness: Understanding Early Organizational Development

Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 80-107, April 1994

28 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2008

See all articles by Kevin J. O'Brien

Kevin J. O'Brien

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Abstract

Evidence from medieval Europe and modern China suggests that cooperation with strong executives plays a larger role in early legislative development than is generally acknowledged: that under conditions of absolutism (or near-absolutism), acceptance and exploitation of subordination may be a means to organizational development. In this article, I rely primarily on interview data and Chinese field research to show that early legislative development can occur without significantly increasing conflict with established authorities and without winning autonomy. I further argue that legislative embeddedness, as measured by clarified and expanded jurisdiction and increased capacity, is a product less of conflict than of executive support and attention, and that support and attention in the early stages of organizational development can be understood in terms of a legislature's presence, its reliability and usefulness, and the political standing of its leaders. The paper's conclusion offers a new approach to early legislative development that shifts attention from conventional measures of institutionalization and hinges on understanding the process of embeddedness.

Keywords: China, local people's congress, embeddedness, legislatures

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Kevin J., Chinese People's Congresses and Legislative Embeddedness: Understanding Early Organizational Development. Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 80-107, April 1994, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1099983

Kevin J. O'Brien (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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