Property Rights and Economic Development in China – Susan Whiting


Manage episode 229815662 series 1756418
By University of Pennsylvania Center for the Study of Contemporary China and University of Pennsylvania. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

At least since China’s 1994 fiscal and tax reforms, land-backed development has served as the greatest source of revenue for Chinese local governments—potentially almost 1 trillion US dollars in total this year—as well as a powerful engine both for rapid industrialization and for social discontent. This circumstance reflects how the state allocation of land-use rights, in China, remains a vestige of the planned economy, and how fiscal pressures on local governments, combined with differential pricing of land for purposes of takings compensation versus resale to developers, incentivize what often looks to be predatory behavior. In this episode, Neysun Mahboubi discusses China’s property rights regime, especially pertaining to land in rural areas, and how it informs the influential theory that economic growth requires stable property rights, with University of Washington political scientist Susan Whiting, a prominent scholar of China’s political economy of development. The episode was recorded on March 16, 2018.

Susan Whiting is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, in Seattle, where she also holds appointments in the Jackson School of International Studies and the School of Law. Her first book, Power and Wealth in Rural China: The Political Economy of Institutional Change, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2001. She has published articles and chapters on authoritarianism, “rule of law,” property rights, fiscal reform, and rural development in volumes and journals such as Comparative Political Studies and The China Quarterly. She has contributed to studies of governance, fiscal reform, and non-governmental organizations under the auspices of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Ford Foundation, respectively. Her current research focuses upon property rights in land, the role of law in authoritarian regimes, as well as the politics of fiscal reform.

Music credit: "Salt" by Poppy Ackroyd, follow her at

Special thanks to Nick Marziani and Kaiser Kuo

22 episodes