East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

February 7, Rory Truex, “Authoritarian Gridlock? Haste and Delay in the Chinese Legislative System.”

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East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents

Authoritarian Gridlock? Haste and Delay in the Chinese Legislative System.”

Rory Truex

Assistant Professor, Department of Politics and Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Princeton University

4:30-6:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

*Light refreshments will be served*


Policy gridlock is often viewed as a uniquely democratic phenomenon. The checks and balances that produce gridlock are absent from authoritarian systems, leading many observers to romanticize “authoritarian efficiency” and policy dynamism. This paper develops a theory that relates authoritarian policy change to the presence of “soft vetoes” within the ruling coalition and citizen attention shocks. A unique law-level dataset from the Chinese case shows that roughly one third of laws are not passed within the period specified in legislative plans, and about 10% of laws take over ten years to pass. Qualitative analysis of China’s Food Safety Law, coupled with shadow case studies of two other laws, demonstrates the plausibility of the theory.

About the Speaker

Rory Truex is Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Affairs. His research focuses on Chinese politics and theories of authoritarian rule. His book Making Autocracy Work: Representation and Responsiveness in Modern China investigates the nature of representation in authoritarian systems, specifically the politics surrounding China’s National People’s Congress. His research has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Currently, Prof. Truex is working on a new project exploring whether Chinese citizens believe state-controlled newspapers, the temporal determinants of dissident behavior and crackdowns, and new ways to measure public opinion. Prof. Truex received his undergraduate degree from Princeton in 2007 and Ph.D. in political science from Yale in 2014.

*To see the full Winter 2017 schedule: Winter Schedule

Faculty sponsors:

Xi Song (Sociology) Dali Yang (Political Science) Dingxin Zhao (Sociology)

This particular East Asia Workshop event is sponsored by the Committee on Chinese Studies at the Center for East Asian Studies and with support from a Title VI National Resource Center Grant from the United States Department of Education. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.


One Comment

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