Authoritarian Gridlock? Haste and Delay in the Chinese Legal System - A discussion with Princeton's Rory Truex

Monday, Oct 10, 2016
by dsuchens

Tuesday, October 11 at 4:30PM in Corwin 127 the Qualitative Research Colloquium (QRC) will be hosting Rory Truex, Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School.  Rory works on questions of authoritarian rule and representation in authoritarian systems, with a particular focus on China. The paper he will be presenting is titled: Authoritarian Gridlock? Haste and Delay in the Chinese Legal System.  Meir Alkon will serve as a discussant.  The paper is attached to this e-mail and the abstract is below:


Policy gridlock is often viewed as a uniquely democratic phenomenon. The institutional checks and balances that produce gridlock are absent from authoritarian systems, leading many observers to romanticize "authoritarian efficiency" and policy dynamism. This paper develops a theory that relates authoritarian policy change to the presence of "soft vetoes" within the ruling coalition and citizen attention shocks. A unique law-level dataset from the Chinese case shows that roughly one third of laws are not passed within the period specified in legislative plans, and about 10% of laws take over ten years to pass. A case study of China's Food Safety Law, coupled with a synthesis of existing case study work, demonstrates the utility of the theory.