East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

November 20 Workshop


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society Presents


“Performance Legitimacy, State Autonomy and

China’s Economic Development”


Presenter: Dingxin Zhao

Professor of Sociology

University of Chicago


4:00-5:30pm, Tuesday

November 20, 2012

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.



All the theories that explain post-MaoChina’s economic success tend to attribute it to one or several “successful” policies or institutions of the Chinese government, or to account for the success from economic perspectives. This article argues that the success of the Chinese economy relies not just on the Chinese state’s economic policy but also on its social policies. Moreover,China’s economic success does not merely lie in the effectiveness of any single economic or social policy or institution, but also in the state’s capacity to make a policy shift when it faces the negative unintended consequences of its earlier policies. The Chinese state is compelled to make policy shifts quickly because performance constitutes the primary base of its legitimacy, and the Chinese state is able to make policy shifts because it enjoys a high level of autonomy inherited fromChina’s past.China’s economic development follows no fixed policies and relies on no stable institutions, and there is no Chinese model or “Beijingconsensus” that can be constructed to explain its success.


Workshop website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia/

Student coordinator: Le Lin (lelin2010@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Dali Yang, Dingxin Zhao and Zheng Michael Song


This presentation is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences and Center for East Asian Studies. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.

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