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

  • Zhang, Yongjing

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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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  1. Lopez, Edward J, 2003. " Term Limits: Causes and Consequences," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 114(1-2), pages 1-56, January.
  2. Tridimas, George, 2011. "The political economy of power-sharing," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 328-342, June.
  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. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521794497 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Bernhard Ebbinghaus, 2009. "Can Path Dependence Explain Institutional Change? Two Approaches Applied to Welfare State Reform," Chapters, in: The Evolution of Path Dependence, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521894753 is not listed on IDEAS
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