Countering Capture: Elite Networks and Government Responsiveness in China's Land Market Reform

Forthcoming, Journal of Politics

71 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2019

See all articles by Junyan Jiang

Junyan Jiang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Government & Public Administration

Yu Zeng

University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Political Science, Students

Date Written: December 13, 2018

Abstract

Government responsiveness is often viewed as a result of political pressure from the public, but why do politicians facing similar pressure sometimes differ in their responsiveness? This article considers the configurations of elite networks as a key mediating factor. We argue that access to external support networks helps improve politicians' responsiveness to ordinary citizens by reducing their dependence on vested interests, and test this claim using China's land market reform as a case. Leveraging novel city-level measures of mass grievances and political networks, we demonstrate that the intensity of land-related grievances is positively associated with reform occurrence, but this association is only salient among a subset of city leaders with informal connections to the higher-level authority. We also show that connected leaders tend to implement policies less congruent with local bureaucratic and business interests. These findings underscore the importance of intra-elite dynamics in shaping mass-elite interactions.

Suggested Citation

Jiang, Junyan and Zeng, Yu, Countering Capture: Elite Networks and Government Responsiveness in China's Land Market Reform (December 13, 2018). Forthcoming, Journal of Politics. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3300650 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3300650

Junyan Jiang (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Government & Public Administration ( email )

Third Floor, T. C. Cheng Building
United College
Shatin
Hong Kong

HOME PAGE: http://www.junyanjiang.com

Yu Zeng

University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

Stiteler Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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