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Making sense of institutional change in China: The cultural dimension of economic growth and modernization

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  • Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten

Abstract

Building on a new model of institutions proposed by Aoki and the systemic approach to economic civilizations outlined by Kuran, this paper attempts an analysis of the cultural foundations of recent Chinese economic development. I argue that the cultural impact needs to be conceived as a creative process that involves linguistic entities and other public social items in order to provide integrative meaning to economic interactions and identities to different agents involved. I focus on three phenomena that stand at the center of economic culture in China, networks, localism and modernism. I eschew the standard dualism of individualism vs. collectivism in favour of a more detailed view on the self in social relationships. The Chinese pattern of social relations, guanxi, is also a constituent of localism, i.e. a peculiar arrangement and resulting dynamics of central-local interactions in governing the economy. Localism is balanced by culturalist controls of the center, which in contemporary China builds on the worldview of modernism. Thus, economic modernization is a cultural phenomenon on its own sake. I summarize these interactions in a process analysis based on Aoki's framework.

Suggested Citation

  • Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, 2011. "Making sense of institutional change in China: The cultural dimension of economic growth and modernization," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 181, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fsfmwp:181
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, 2009. "Kulturelle Hybridisierung und Wirtschaftstransformation in China," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 115, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    2. Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, 2008. "Neuroeconomics, naturalism and language," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 108, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    3. Herrmann-Pillath, Carsten, 2010. "Entropy, function and evolution: naturalizing Peircian semiosis," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 134, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
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    7. C. Herrmann-Pillath., 2011. "A Neurolinguistic Approach to Performativity in Economics," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 2.
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    16. Wollersheim, Jutta & Barthel, Erich, 2008. "Kulturunterschiede bei Mergers & Acquisitions: Entwicklung eines Konzeptes zur Durchführung einer Cultural Due Diligence," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 94, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
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    1. repec:eee:anture:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:170-182 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Inklaar, Robert & Koetter, Michael & Noth, Felix, 2012. "Who's afraid of big bad banks? Bank competition, SME, and industry growth," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 197, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    3. Dietmar Harhoff & Elisabeth Mueller & John Reenen, 2014. "What are the Channels for Technology Sourcing? Panel Data Evidence from German Companies," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 204-224, March.
    4. Boeing, Philipp & Mueller, Elisabeth & Sandner, Philipp, 2012. "What makes Chinese firms productive? Learning from indigenous and foreign sources of knowledge," Frankfurt School - Working Paper Series 196, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
    5. Alexander Libman & Vladimir Kozlov & André Schultz, 2012. "Roving Bandits in Action: Outside Option and Governmental Predation in Autocracies," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 526-562, November.
    6. Böing, Philipp & Müller, Elisabeth, 2012. "Technological Capabilities of Chinese Enterprises: Who is Going to Compete Abroad?," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62081, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Aoki; culture and the economy; emics/etics; guanxi; relational collectivism; central/local government relations; culturalism; population quality; consumerism;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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