Organizational Clientelism: An Analysis of Private Entrepreneurs in Chinese Local Legislatures

Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol 14, No.1, 2014

30 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2014

See all articles by Xin Sun

Xin Sun

Northwestern University

Jiangnan Zhu

University of Nevada, Reno - Department of Political Science

Yiping Wu

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Date Written: December 1, 2013

Abstract

Extant literature on authoritarian legislatures argues that dictators set up quasi-democratic institutions to co-opt opposition and attract investors. This study argues that dictators also nurture clientelistic ties with social groups useful to their rule, a previously overlooked function of authoritarian legislatures. Drawing on the case of Chinese local legislatures — namely, the local People’s Congress and the local People’s Political Consultative Conference — we find that Chinese local governments use these institutions to channel patronage to and gain political support from the private sector. Field Interviews and an analysis of a nationwide firm-level survey show that private firms owned by local legislative members, while obtaining more bank loans, provide more support to the local government in various forms than those owned by nonmembers. This finding suggests that authoritarian legislatures, even those with weak policymaking efficacy, can help authoritarian states build stable alliances with social groups, thereby contributing to regime resilience.

Keywords: local legislature, organizational clientelism, private firms, state-business relations, authoritarianism, China

Suggested Citation

Sun, Xin and Zhu, Jiangnan and Wu, Yiping, Organizational Clientelism: An Analysis of Private Entrepreneurs in Chinese Local Legislatures (December 1, 2013). Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol 14, No.1, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2389165

Xin Sun

Northwestern University ( email )

Jiangnan Zhu

University of Nevada, Reno - Department of Political Science ( email )

United States

Yiping Wu (Contact Author)

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics ( email )

Shanghai
China

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