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Modes of Governance in the Chinese Bureaucracy

Friday, October 25, 2019 at 3:30pm to 5:30pm

Goldwin Smith Hall, 64
232 East Ave, Central Campus

Modes of Governance in the Chinese Bureaucracy: "Control Rights" Theory is the topic guest speaker Xueguang Zhou will present.

Abstract: Drawing on insights from economic theories of incomplete contracts and property rights, we develop a theoretical model on authority relationships in the Chinese bureaucracy by conceptualizing the allocation of control rights in goal setting, inspection and incentive provision among the principal, supervisor and agent. Variations in the allocation of control rights give rise to different modes of governance and entail distinct behavioral implications among the parties involved. The proposed model provides a unified framework and a set of analytical concepts to examine different governance structures, varying authority relationships, and behavioral patterns in the Chinese bureaucracy. We illustrate the proposed model in a case study of the authority relationships and the ensuing behavioral patterns in the environmental protection arena over a 5-year cycle of policy implementation.

More about Professor Xueguang Zhou:  Xueguang Zhou is a professor at the Sociology Department, the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development, and a senior fellow at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. His main areas of research include institutional changes in Chinese society, the Chinese bureaucracy, and governance in China. In the past decade, he conducted fieldwork to understand interactions among state policies, local officials and citizens at the grassroots level. This line of research was summarized in his book The Institutional Logic of Governance in China: An Organizational Approach (in Chinese, Sanlian Press, 2017).   

Professor Zhou currently conducts research on the evolution of the bureaucratic state in China. He works with a research team to examine patterns of personnel flow among government offices to understand intra-organizational relationships in the Chinese bureaucracy. He also works on a research project that explores the historical origins of the bureaucratic state in China. 

This event is hosted by the East Asia Program Graduate Student Steering Committee and co-sponsored with the Department of Sociology, and Center for the Study of Economy and Society at Cornell.

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Event Type



Sociology, East Asia Program, Cornell China Center


Cornell Contemporary China Initiative
Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Ling Tao


Xueguang Zhou

Speaker Affiliation

Sociology Stanford University

Dept. Web Site

Disability Access Information

wheel-chair accessible; other accessibility needs addressed with advance notice

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Mengzheng Yao

Mengzheng Yao left a positive review 10/24/2019

Dr. Zhou appears to be very knowledgeable, insightful and kind in this talk.