345 Fisher-Bennett Hall
Why do politicians create institutions that threaten to eliminate their own rent-seeking opportunities? This question is puzzling in a wide range of contexts, where the public cannot hold policymakers accountable or special interests capture the political system. Existing research mainly attributes institutional changes to the ruling elites’ fear of popular mobilization or their capability of mobilizing supporters against vested interests. My research proposes a theory that focuses on both political leadership and public pressure. Based on sixteen months of field and archival research in China, I argue that political leaders supply efficiency-enhancing institutions such as property rights when 1) social unrest poses a credible threat to regime stability and 2) political mandates or discretionary resources make them autonomous from the influence of powerful interest groups.
Open to all, lunch served.
Richard Zeng is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science
Sponsored by CSCC.