The Private Sector in Public Office: Selective Property Rights in China addresses the long-standing puzzle of how China’s private sector manages to grow without secure property rights. I show that instead of passively accepting the existing institutional arrangements, private entrepreneurs in China actively seek opportunities within formal institutions to advance their business interests. By securing seats in the local legislatures, entrepreneurs use their political capital to deter local officials from demanding bribes, ad hoc taxes, and other types of informal payments. In doing so, they create a system of selective, individualized, and predictable property rights. This system of selective property rights is key to understanding the private sector growth in the absence of the rule of law.
The Private Sector in Public Office: Selective Property Rights in China. 2019. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics Series. [amazon link]
"In this fascinating and innovative book, Yue Hou breathes new life into the study of private entrepreneurs in China."
(Bruce Dickson, George Washington University)
"The Private Sector in Public Office is a ground-breaking study that helps us understand the complex and fluid relationship between private wealth and political power."
(Minxin Pei, Claremont McKenna College)
"This important new book, with broad comparative implications, reveals that local political connections and fears of corruption and government theft are a fundamental feature of the contemporary Chinese economy."
(Thomas Pepinsky, Cornell University)
"Yue Hou’s book offers a comprehensive theory and evidence of the important role of political connections in securing individualized property rights for connected entrepreneurs."
(Lixin Colin Xu, The World Bank)
This fascinating book is a timely addition to the literature, given heated discussions in an era of “Guo jin min tui ” (“the state advances and the private sector retreats”) during the Xi administration, especially when one witnesses an exodus from China, during the last few years, of successful businesspeople in their prime. A very valuable resource on political economy and economic development (CHOICE , 2020).
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