‘It Must Be Rock Strong!’: Guanxi's Impact on Judicial Decision-Making in China
26 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2017
Date Written: January 31, 2017
Drawing upon data interviews with Chinese judges who were involved in the decision-making process, we develop two variables for analyzing the influence of social ties, or guanxi, in the judicial setting. The first differentiates the strength of guanxi – whether it is strong or weak. The second distinguishes whether the guanxi source is from a supervisor who has a role in affecting the benefit or the career development of the target judge. We argue that instead of working independently, these two variables interact and often mutually reinforce. With this typology, we contrast the means and outcomes of four types of guanxi. This article deepens scholarly understanding on the operation of guanxi in Chinese courts. Our framework explains why shady practices that fuel favoritism and undermine the development of legal professionalism are difficult to pin down and stem out.
Keywords: Guanxi, Judicial Decision-Making, Chinese Courts, Judges, Legal Professionalism, Lawyers, Corruption, Hierarchical Nature, Supervisory Guanxi, Rule of Law
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K14, K4, K40, K42
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