East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

Apr 19, Junyan Jiang, “Elite Networks and State Capacity: Evidence from A Pollution Control Campaign in China”


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents


 “Elite Networks and State Capacity: Evidence from A Pollution Control Campaign in China”

Junyan Jiang

PhD Student, Department of Political Science

The University of Chicago

4:30-6:00p.m., Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.



What makes a bureaucracy effective? While much of the literature on state capacity emphasizes the features of the formal bureaucratic institutions, I argue that effective policy implementation also hinges on the mobilization of informal networks, which help carry out high-level directives in localities. Exploiting an unexpected increase in the Chinese central government’s perceived urgency of pollution control in 2007, I empirically examine how connections with higher-level patrons conditioned local agents’ responses to the center’s call for emission reduction. Analyses of both official statistics on emission of sulfur dioxide and satellite data on aerosol optical thickness suggest that cities headed by leaders promoted under the incumbent provincial secretary experienced considerably larger emission reduction than unconnected cities after the campaign was initiated. The total amount of emission reduction associated with informal connections is estimated to be as large as about 2 million tones by the end of 2011. I also find some evidence that connected agents are most effective in localities where the state has strong formal or informal ties with the society, suggesting that internal cohesion and external penetration are complementary in enhancing state capacity.


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

Student coordinator: Yan Xu (xuyan@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors: Xi Song, Dali Yang and Dingxin Zhao


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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