Understanding the Law of Torts in China: A Political Economy Perspective

46 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2014 Last revised: 1 May 2018

See all articles by Wei Zhang

Wei Zhang

Singapore Management University

Date Written: October 27, 2014


In this paper, I tried to connect the text of the Chinese tort law with the institutional context of lawmaking in China from a political economy perspective. Two determinants, political influence and populist pressure, were identified for the tort law legislation in China, and a simple spatial model was presented to demonstrate the mechanism through which these determinants might have affected the text of the law. In particular, my research suggested that, when injurers’ political influence kept constant, the populist pressure on the injurer group tended to push the tort law rules toward the pro-victim end. On the contrary, with the similar populist pressure, the politically influential injurers could induce legal rules to their advantage. Even within a particular type of torts, the subgroup of injurers who were better organized to exert political influence would be rewarded with more favorable rules on torts than their fellow injurers, especially where populist pressure was moderate. Hopefully, this research will inspire more efforts among students of Chinese law to explore the operation of law at the microscopic level against the macroscopic institutional backdrops of this country.

Keywords: law of torts, political influence, populist pressure, public choice

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Wei, Understanding the Law of Torts in China: A Political Economy Perspective (October 27, 2014). University of Pennsylvania Asian Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 2, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2515449 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2515449

Wei Zhang (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University ( email )

School of Law
55 Armenian Street
Singapore, 179943

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