Connections, paperwork or passivity: strategies of popular engagement with the Chinese bureaucracy

Munro, N. (2012) Connections, paperwork or passivity: strategies of popular engagement with the Chinese bureaucracy. China Journal, 68, pp. 147-176. (doi: 10.1086/666576)

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The low degree of institutionalization of Chinese administration means that citizens engaging with the bureaucracy have a choice of strategies to get things done. This article deploys Asia Barometer survey data from 2006 to construct a predictive model of preferences between strategies to obtain a government permit, including use of connections (guanxi), bribery, writing letters, waiting patiently, and the passive-pessimistic response “nothing can be done”. It finds that strategy preference varies according to location (city or county interacting with region), socio-economic status, social capital, political values and political performance evaluations. The pattern of determinants shows that Chinese citizens are cross-pressured. The class and gender nature of guanxi and bribery are an obstacle to the creation of a modern Chinese state, but high levels of social trust, support for political freedom, the market and meritocracy combined with the reservoir of trust enjoyed by executive organs present a favourable climate for efforts to improve governance.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Munro, Dr Neil
Authors: Munro, N.
Subjects:J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:China Journal
Publisher:Contemporary China Centre

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