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Rentier States at the Local: The Case of China

Tue, June 23, 4:05 to 6:00pm, South Building, Floor: 5th Floor, S519


The endowment of natural resources ought to benefit for the development. Yet this gift from nature always poses a curse on a region’s long-term prosperity and stability. One of the prominent explanations is that the states, dependent on resource rents instead of taxation, are less motivated to promote the industrialization of the region, and also in lack of responsiveness to the need of the people in the jurisdiction. However, these arguments of rentier states are based on cross-country comparisons. The bias of this way is quite obvious that it cannot control for many underlying factors, such as history, culture and political regime. Meanwhile, the neglect of local politicians’ role also leaves a gap between the rent from resources and the reaction of the states.
Since the industrialization in 1950s, China’s development relies deeply on its diverse resource reserves. Resource abundance has brought hot monies, technologies, and constructions to the localities. In the meantime, people have been suffering from pollution, corruption, and even violence. For better understanding of the uneven development of China and the role of local rentier state, this study focuses on local level of government and aims to answer two questions: 1. compared with other m,regions, do localities with rich resources show weak capacities systematically? 2. what are the driven forces benbbbbbbbhind the behavior of local cadres in resource rich regions?