Neoliberalism, authoritarian politics and social policy in China

Duckett, J. (2020) Neoliberalism, authoritarian politics and social policy in China. Development and Change, 51(2), pp. 523-539. (doi: 10.1111/dech.12568)

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This article explores the relationships among neoliberalism, social policy expansion and authoritarian politics in contemporary China. It argues that in the era of neoliberalism, rising new right and authoritarian governments, the Chinese Communist Party has sought to retain power by shifting politically to the right and promoting neoliberal‐looking economic policies. These policies have raised average living standards but also increased insecurity for most of the Chinese population, while new social policies have facilitated marketization. Social policy expansion includes minimal cash transfers as well as social old‐age and health insurance for hitherto excluded sections of the population. These policies have begun to erode long‐standing urban–rural segregation, but they have added new, underfunded, social programmes rather than widening participation in existing ones, re‐segregating provision so that urban elites and formal sector workers enjoy much more generous provisions than many people working informally and those without work. These social policies’ most significant dark sides thus include compounded income inequalities and the segmentation and stigmatization of the poorest. Authoritarian controls have enabled the Communist Party to avoid redistributive policies that would undermine its urban support, so that politics in China differ from the right‐wing populism of new, anti‐establishment authoritarian regimes.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Duckett, Professor Jane
Authors: Duckett, J.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Development and Change
ISSN (Online):1467-7660
Published Online:11 January 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Development and Change 51(2):523-539
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
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167124Rising Powers: Unequal Powers, Authoritarian Powers, Unstable Powers?Stephen WhiteEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/J012688/1S&PS - Politics