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The economic causes and consequences of social instability in China

  • Knight, John

This paper provides a survey of the economic literature relevant to social instability in China and moulds it into an argument. The objective is to offer a fresh view of economic policy and performance through the lens of the threat posed by social instability. This 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 concern 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. The paper examines the likely economic determinants of social instability, using both surveys and other evidence. After discussing 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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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal China Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 25 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 17-26

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Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:25:y:2013:i:c:p:17-26
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/chieco

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  1. Appleton, Simon & Song, Lina, 2008. "Life Satisfaction in Urban China: Components and Determinants," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(11), pages 2325-2340, November.
  2. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Sule Ozler & Nouriel Roubini & Phillip Swagel, 1992. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2009. "Income, Aspirations and the Hedonic Treadmill in a Poor Society," Economics Series Working Papers 468, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems 0409007, EconWPA.
  6. Ari Aisen & Francisco José Veiga, 2010. "How does political instability affect economic growth?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 568, Central Bank of Chile.
  7. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. William Easterly & Jozef Ritzan & Michael Woolcock, 2006. "Social Cohesion, Institutions, and Growth," Working Papers 94, Center for Global Development.
  9. 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).
  10. Knight, John & Ding, Sai, 2012. "China's Remarkable Economic Growth," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199698691, March.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Nauro F. Campos & Jeffrey B. Nugent, 2001. "Who Is Afraid Of Political Instability?," Development and Comp Systems 0012016, EconWPA.
  14. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. " Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  15. 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.
  16. Matthew Rabin, 1998. "Psychology and Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 11-46, March.
  17. 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.
  18. John Knight & Ramani Gunatilaka, 2011. "Does Economic Growth Raise Happiness in China?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 1-24.
  19. 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.
  20. Alberto Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1993. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 4486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
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