How Do Rural Elites Reproduce Privileges in Post-1978 China? Local corporatism, informal bargaining and opportunistic parasitism

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-643
Journal / PublicationJournal of Contemporary China
Issue number94
Online published12 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


Many scholars have shown that cadre status is associated with cadre earnings advantages in rural China. What is less clear from the published research is how political power is used by rural elites to generate personal gains. We narrow this knowledge gap by studying three main mechanisms whereby cadre privileges are reproduced in rural China. Using ethnographic data from three rural townships in Guangdong province, we show that local economies have been differentiated in the post-1978 era, leading to three different mechanisms with which village leaders in each of the three townships have maintained their earnings advantages respectively, i.e. local corporatism, informal bargaining and opportunistic parasitism.We predict that local corporatism will be the dominant model of the reproduction of cadre privileges in rural China.