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The successor's dilemma in China's single party political system

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  • Zhang, Yongjing

Abstract

An autocratic ruler seeking a successor who will recognize and maintain his legacy faces a dilemma. The designated successor may become too successful politically and threaten the autocrat's rule, or if not successful in achieving recognition, the designated successor may fail to remain in office after the ruler dies, and the ruler's legacy will not be sustained. The dilemma is also that of the successor in choosing self-promotion that threatens the still-living ruler. I examine the solution to the successor's dilemma in the single-party system China. Uniquely for an autocracy, China has term limits and also age limits on political office. I describe how term limits and dual-generation designation of successors on the basis of “checks-and-balances” were the consequence of a rational choice of Deng Xiaoping, as a paramount leader, to resolve the successor's dilemma so as to extend his own power to sustain his legacies.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 27 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 674-680

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:27:y:2011:i:4:p:674-680

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

Related research

Keywords: Autocracy; China; Leadership succession; Term limits;

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References

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  1. Wintrobe,Ronald, 2000. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521794497, April.
  2. Ebbinghaus, Bernhard, 2005. "Can Path Dependence Explain Institutional Change? Two Approaches Applied to Welfare State Reform," MPIfG Discussion Paper 05/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  3. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
  4. Lopez, Edward J, 2003. " Term Limits: Causes and Consequences," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 114(1-2), pages 1-56, January.
  5. Tridimas, George, 2011. "The political economy of power-sharing," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 328-342, June.
  6. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, April.
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Cited by:
  1. george Tridimas, 2014. "Why some democracies are headed by a monarch?," ICER Working Papers 07-2014, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  2. Tridimas, George, 2012. "How democracy was achieved," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 651-658.

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