Locking in Fair Weather Friends: Assessing the Fate of Chinese Communist Elite When Their Patrons Fall from Power

20 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018

See all articles by Victor Shih

Victor Shih

University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Global Policy & Strategy, 21st Century China Center

Jonghyuk Lee

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: July 15, 2018

Abstract

A growing literature shows robust evidence that patronage by high level politicians greatly enhanced officials’ chance of promotion in the largest one-party dictatorship in the world, China. There has been few works on whether patrons’ exits, even when they were retirements, had an impact on a followers’ career prospects. This question concerns the core theoretical issue of whether factional ties are self-enforcing mechanisms. That is, patron-client relationships are only useful for patrons if they knew that clients would suffer if they fell from power. This mechanism creates strong incentives for clients to engage in political struggle on behalf of their patrons, regardless of the patrons’ monitoring capacity. We control for a range of unobserved heterogeneity and show that patrons’ exits from the political elite had a significantly negative impact on a clients’ chance of promotion and also diminished their chance of retaining their incumbent positions.

Suggested Citation

Shih, Victor and Lee, Jonghyuk, Locking in Fair Weather Friends: Assessing the Fate of Chinese Communist Elite When Their Patrons Fall from Power (July 15, 2018). 21st Century China Center Research Paper No. 2018-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3218670 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3218670

Victor Shih (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD), School of Global Policy & Strategy, 21st Century China Center ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive #0519
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

Jonghyuk Lee

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

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