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

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  • 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".

Suggested Citation

  • Gilli, Mario & Li, Yuan, 2012. "Citizenry Accountability in Autocracies: The Political Economy of Good Governance in China," Working Paper Series 2012-23, Stockholm School of Economics, China Economic Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hacerc:2012-023
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Li, Yuan, 2013. "Downward Accountability in Response to Collective Actions: The Political Economy of Public Goods Provision in China," Stockholm School of Economics Asia Working Paper Series 2013-26, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute.
    3. Li, Yuan & Gilli, Mario, 2014. "Accountability in Autocracies: The Role of Revolution Threat," Stockholm School of Economics Asia Working Paper Series 2014-30, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute, revised 06 Mar 2014.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Autocracy; Accountability; Revolt; Chinese Economic Reform;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • P30 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - General

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