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Title: What is the nature of authoritarian regimes? : responsive authoritarianism in China
Author: MacDonald, Andrew W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 1388
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This work proposes a new theory of authoritarian regimes: responsive authoritarianism. Most existing theories of autocracies take as their point of departure elite politics or the state’s repressive apparatus to explain the rise and fall of regimes. I argue that, for many states, regimes also have to consider the consent of the governed when designing policies. Specifically, when regime legitimacy is low but the central leadership maintains a long time horizon, autocratic regimes are predicted to become more responsive to the needs of citizens. This theory is tested against a number of aspects of the Chinese fiscal system dealing with public goods provision during the period of 2002-2011 and generally finds in favor of the theory. Chapter 4 tests the fiscal transfer system, Chapter 5 tests the fiscal expenditure data, and Chapter 6 tests data on the results of the transfer and expenditure data: actual public goods provision. This theory has a number of implications that suggest that scholars begin to rethink how they conceptualize power dynamics within an authoritarian regime, in particular paying closer attention to the relationship between the ruler(s) and the ruled. It suggests that, at least in the political science literature, power be returned to the people.
Supervisor: Shue, Vivienne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International studies ; Public policy ; Development economics ; Transition economics ; China ; public service provision ; fiscal transfers ; autocracy ; legitimacy