Modes of Governance in the Chinese Bureaucracy: A 'Control Rights' Theory

Xueguang Zhou, Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development; Professor of Sociology; FSI Senior Fellow Francis Fukuyama (moderator) - Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at Stanford University

RSVP required by 5PM on FEB 18 

The Chinese bureaucracy presents a set of anomalies that need to be explained: In the presence of a strong central authority, why do we observe widespread collusive behaviors at the local level? Why are violations and problems uncovered in the inspection processes are left unaddressed? Why is performance evaluation conducted by the higher authorities is subsequently ignored by the local authorities? We develop a theoretical model on authority relationships in the Chinese bureaucracy by conceptualizing the allocation of control rights in goal setting, inspection and incentive provision among the principal, supervisor and agent. Variations in the allocation of control rights give rise to different modes of governance and entail distinct behavioral implications among the parties involved. The proposed model provides a unified framework and a set of analytical concepts to examine different governance structures, varying authority relationships, and behavioral patterns in the Chinese bureaucracy. We illustrate the proposed model in a case study of authority relationships and the ensuing behavioral patterns in the environmental protection arena over a 5-year policy cycle.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | 12:00 pm — 1:30 pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL)
Shorenstein APARC
Stanford China Program, Shorenstein APARC