Opportunists, Predators and Rogues: The Role of Local State Relations in Shaping Chinese Rural Development
Chinese rural enterprises have developed in various ways in different parts of the country, giving rise to competing explanations of the variation in terms of the role of structure, historical legacies, norms, bureaucratic controls and agency. A new analysis seeks to resolve these contradictions by placing development in the context of township and village cadres’ relationships. Townships can either enforce village compliance with county policy or not, and can promote economic development or not, resulting in bureaucratic controls working where compliance is enforced, and norms and agency guiding development where they are not. Perverse incentives allow compliance without achieving larger goals of economic development, and can trap villages in opportunistic or predatory townships. While structure and historical legacies do constrain development in general, inter‐level relationships are key to understanding micro‐variations. Village wealth and village elections further empower the village level and give agency greater salience.
Journal of Agrarian Change