Book Manuscript

Social Protection under Authoritarianism: Health Politics and Policy in China, under contract, Oxford University Press

Why would authoritarian leaders expand social welfare provision in the absence of democratization? What are the distributive features and implications of social welfare expansion in an authoritarian country? How do authoritarian leaders design and enforce social welfare expansion in a decentralized multilevel governance setting?  This book identifies the trade-off authoritarian leaders face in social welfare provision: effectively balancing between elites and masses in order to maximize the regime’s survival prospects. Using government documents, filed interviews, survey data, and government statistics about Chinese social health insurance, I argue that the Chinese authoritarian leaders attempt to manage the distributive trade-off by a “stratified expansion” strategy, establishing an expansive yet stratified social health insurance system to perpetuate particularly privileged programs for the elites while developing an essentially modest health care provision for the masses. In China’s decentralized multilevel governance setting, the stratified expansion of social health insurance is implemented by local leaders who confront various fiscal and social constraints in vastly different local circumstances. As a result, there is great regional variation in the expansion of social health insurance, in addition to the benefit stratification across social strata. The dynamics of central-local interaction in enforcing the stratified expansion of social health insurance stands at the center of the politics of health reform in China during the first decade of the 2000s. This book demonstrates that the balance between elites and masses in benefit distribution is delicate in the authoritarian and decentralized multilevel governance setting.

Working Papers

“Impact of Health Insurance Integration on Health Care: Evidence from China,” with Bingxiao Wu, R&R.(URL)

“Peace in the Shadow of Unrest: Medical Disturbance and State Response in China,” under review. (URL)

“The Chinese Dream: Hukou, Social Mobility and Trust in Government,” under review. (URL)

“Bread or Roses: How Economic Inequality Affects Regime Support in China?” with Cai Zuo

Work in Progress

“Social Insurance Preferences in Transitional Economies: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in China,” with Chengzhe Fu and Xiaofang Wu

The Politics of Redistribution in China’s Urbanization (book project)

“Bribery in Health Care in China”