Workshop on East Asia:
Politics, Economy and Society Presents
“The Great Recession and Evolving State-Business Relations in China”
Professor Dali Yang and Junyan Jiang
Department of Political Science, University of Chicago
October 5, 2010
5828 South University Ave.
Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/
Student coordinator: Jean Lin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao
The workshop is sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance, please contact the student coordinator in advance.
This paper examines the historical evolution of state-economy relations in China in the post reform era. We argue that while the reform in the 1990s was characterized by a continuous reduction of the size of the state sector, this trend was gradually reversed in the 2000s as the state sought to promote national industrial development and rectify market failures—a phenomenon known in China as ‘guojin mintui’ (literally translated as ‘the advance of the state and the retreat of the private’). Special attention is given to how the Great Recession has precipitated the trend when the export-oriented private sector was put on the defensive and massive government stimulus was distributed in favor of the state sector. We analyze the dynamics of ‘guojin mintui’ in two basic industrial sectors: coalmining and steelmaking, and highlight the differences and similarities in the logics of ‘guojin mintui’ in the respective sectors. The final sections of the paper offer an overview of how the guojin mintui phenomenon is viewed in China and how officials have responded to those criticisms. We believe our examination of the guojin mintui phenomenon provides a useful lens through which to examine the evolving nature of China’s evolving political economy.