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The Australian National University

Event details

ANU China Seminar Series

The Origins and Dynamics of Crony Capitalism in China: Insights from Prosecuted Cases of Collusive Corruption

Pei Minxin

4:00pm - 5:30pm
21 Mar 2017
Seminar Room A, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU

Pei Minxin

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Corruption in the post-Tiananmen era exhibits distinct characteristics not found in the 1980s, such as astronomical sums of money looted by officials, their family members, and their cronies in the private sector, large networks of co-conspirators, and the sale of public office. By examining the evolution of Chinese economic and political institutions since the early 1990s, we can trace the emergence of crony capitalism to two critical changes in the control of property rights of the assets owned by the state and the personnel management of the officials the ruling Communist Party. The cumulative effects of these changes have dramatically decentralized the control of public property without clarifying their ownership and granted local party chiefs unprecedented personnel power. Consequently, local political and business elites gain greater incentives and opportunities to collude with each other in looting the assets nominally owned by the state. The insights from a sample of 260 prosecuted cases of corruption involving multiple officials and businessmen suggest that crony capitalism in China has evolved into a decentralized kleptocracy with its own market rules and dynamics.

About the Speaker

Minxin Pei is the Tom and Margot Pritzker '72 Professor of Government and directs the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Pei has published in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, The Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Project Syndicate,, Nikkei Asian Review, and many scholarly journals and edited volumes. He is the author of China‚Äôs Crony Capitalism: The Dynamics of Regime Decay (Harvard, 2016); China's Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy (Harvard, 2006) and From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union (Harvard, 1994).  Pei was a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1999-2009) and an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University (1992-1998).

After the Seminar

To allow for informal discussion, the seminar will be followed by a dinner with the guest speaker at 6:15pm. The location of the restaurant will be announced at the seminar. All are welcome, though those who attend will need to pay for their own food and drinks. As reservations must be made at the restaurant, please RSVP by noon of the day before the seminar to
The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the China Institute, the Research School of Asia and the Pacific, and the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University.
This talk is also being presented at The University of Melbourne on Thursday 23 March and The University of Sydney on Wednesday 29 March.
Download the poster (PDF, 578KB)

Updated:  16 February 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, China in the World /Page Contact:  China in the World