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Remonstration and Authoritarian Rule in Rural China

Hiroki Takeuchi explores democratic institutions in autocracies by examining various channels of political participation in rural China.

April 9, 2009 4:00pm to 5:30pm

This talk explores democratic institutions in autocracies by examining various channels of political participation in rural China.  Through the use of simple game-theoretic models and my field interviews with more than a hundred people across seven provinces-which include both richer coastal regions and poorer inland regions-during 2004 and 2005, this talk discusses a theory to help understand what are the functions of democratic institutions in decision making of an authoritarian regime, how democratic institutions under an authoritarian regime function differently from those under a democratic regime, and what impacts democratic institutions have on the survival and demise of an authoritarian regime.  In this talk, I argue that crucial to these democratic institutions in China is that ordinary people are allowed to remonstrate for certain interests against the local governments, but never allowed to represent certain interests against the central government.  With the remonstrative character of the democratic institutions, China's authoritarian regime has succeeded in strengthening its authority for its survival at the cost of the capacity of local governments for governance in agricultural areas.  This talk also explores the unintended consequences of remonstrative political participation, relating my argument to the broader issue of sustainability of China's reform strategy-pursuing pro-market economic policies under one-party rule.


HIROKI TAKEUCHI received his B.A. of Economics from Keio University in Japan, his M.A. of Asian Studies from University of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. of Political Science from UCLA.  He is an assistant professor of political science at SMU.  Previously, he taught at UCLA as a faculty fellow of the Political Science Department and at Stanford University as a postdoctoral teaching fellow of the Public Policy Program. 

Professor Takeuchi's research interests include politics and economics of China's reform, comparative politics of authoritarian regimes, and international relations in East Asia, as well as applying game theory to political science.  His teaching interests extends to Chinese and Japanese politics, international relations of East Asia, and political economy of East Asia, as well as introductory classes on international relations and comparative politics.