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The Economic Causes and Consequences of Social Instability in China

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  • John Knight

Abstract

Social instability is a concept that economists rarely analyse, and yet it can lurk behind much economic policy-making.� China’s leadership has often publicly expressed its concerns to avoid ‘social instability’.� It is viewed as a threat both to the political order and to the continued rapid growth of the economy.� This threat to growth in turn endangers the maintenance of social stability.� This paper examines the likely economic determinants of social instability, using both surveys and other evidence.� After explaining the determinants of China’s rapid growth, the paper goes on to examine the likely mechanisms by which social instability can affect the growth rate.� There is a case for more research on the role of social instability in the economic development process.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 619.

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Date of creation: 03 Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:619

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Keywords: China; Civil unrest; Corruption; Developmental state; Economic growth; Governance; Happiness; Inequality; Social instability;

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References

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  1. Ari Aisen & Francisco José Veiga, 2011. "How Does Political Instability Affect Economic Growth?," IMF Working Papers 11/12, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 4486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511 - 564.
  4. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
  5. Paul Frijters & Amy Y.C. Liu & Xin Meng, 2008. "Are optimistic expectations keeping the Chinese happy?," NCER Working Paper Series 37, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Sule Ozler & Nouriel Roubini & Phillip Swagel, 1992. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
  8. Easterlin, Richard A. & Morgan, Robson & Switek, Malgorzata & Wang, Fei, 2013. "China's Life Satisfaction, 1990-2010," IZA Discussion Papers 7196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Knight, John & Deng, Quheng & Li, Shi, 2011. "The puzzle of migrant labour shortage and rural labour surplus in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 585-600.
  10. Nauro F. Campos & Jeffrey B. Nugent, 2001. "Who Is Afraid Of Political Instability?," Development and Comp Systems 0012016, EconWPA.
  11. William Easterly & Jozef Ritzen & Michael Woolcock, 2006. "Social Cohesion, Institutions, And Growth," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(2), pages 103-120, 07.
  12. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2012. "Income, aspirations and the Hedonic Treadmill in a poor society," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 67-81.
  13. Knight, John & Gunatilaka, Ramani, 2010. "Great Expectations? The Subjective Well-being of Rural-Urban Migrants in China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 113-124, January.
  14. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  15. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. " Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  16. John Knight & Li Shi & Deng Quheng, 2010. "Son Preference and Household Income in Rural China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(10), pages 1786-1805.
  17. Song, Lina & Appleton, Simon, 2008. "Life Satisfaction in Urban China: Components and Determinants," MPRA Paper 8347, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. John Knight & Linda Yueh, 2008. "The role of social capital in the labour market in China," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 16(3), pages 389-414, 07.
  19. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2011. "Does Economic Growth Raise Happiness in China?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 1-24.
  20. Knight, John & Ding, Sai, 2012. "China's Remarkable Economic Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199698691.
  21. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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