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

Listed author(s):
  • Gilli, Mario

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

  • Li, Yuan

    ()

    (China Economic Research Center)

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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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/hacerc/papers/hacerc2012-023.pdf
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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
Handle: RePEc:hhs:hacerc:2012-023
Contact details of provider: 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/en/Research/Institutes/SCERI/

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  1. Elias Papaioannou & Gregorios Siourounis, 2008. "Democratisation and Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(532), pages 1520-1551, October.
  2. McMillan, John & Naughton, Barry, 1992. "How to Reform a Planned Economy: Lessons from China," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 130-143, Spring.
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  14. 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.
  15. Barry Naughton, 2007. "The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262640643, July.
  16. Peter Murrell, 1991. "Can Neoclassical Economics Underpin the Reform of Centrally Planned Economies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 59-76, Fall.
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  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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