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Citizenry Accountability in Autocracies: The Political Economy of Good Governance in China

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Author Info

  • Gilli, Mario

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Li, Yuan

    ()
    (China Economic Research Center)

Abstract

Do citizens have a role in constraining the policies of autocratic governments? Usually political and economic literature models autocracy as if citizens have no role in constraining a leader's behavior, when in fact autocratic governments are afraid of potential citizen revolts. In this paper we build a three player political agency model to study citizenry accountability in autocracies. We show that the citizens can effectively discipline the leader due to the threat of revolution notwithstanding the size of the selectorate, though this may result in a failed state when the costs of revolution and the size of the selectorate are small. Our model and results provide a useful framework for interpreting the political logic of the China's economic reform after the "Tiananmen incident".

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by China Economic Research Center, Stockholm School of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2012-23.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 20 Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hacerc:2012-023

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Postal: China, Economic Research Center, Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, 113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46-8-736 90 00
Fax: +46-8-31 81 86
Web page: http://www.hhs.se/CERC/
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Keywords: Autocracy; Accountability; Revolt; Chinese Economic Reform;

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References

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  1. Timothy Besley & Masayuki Kudamatsu, 2007. "Making Autocracy Work," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 48, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
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  14. Cho, In-Koo & Kreps, David M, 1987. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 179-221, May.
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  18. Mario Gilli & Yuan Li, 2013. "A Model of Chinese Central Government: the Role of Reciprocal Accountability," Working Papers 230, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2013.
  19. Murrell, Peter, 1992. " Evolutionary and Radical Approaches to Economic Reform," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 79-95.
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Cited by:
  1. Li, Yuan, 2013. "Downward Accountability in Response to Collective Actions: The Political Economy of Public Goods Provision in China," Working Paper Series 2013-26, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics.
  2. Gilli Mario & Li Yuan, 2012. "Citizenry Accountability in Autocracies," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(3), pages 1-6, December.
  3. Li, Yuan & Gilli, Mario, 2014. "Accountability in Autocracies: The Role of Revolution Threat," Working Paper Series 2014-30, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 06 Mar 2014.

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