Accountability in One-party Government: Rethinking the Success of Chinese Economic Reform

Yuan Li (DEFAP, Catholic University of Milan )
Mario Gilli (University of Milan-Bicocca)

Abstract: How does the internal institutional structure affect government performances in autocracies? In this paper, we focus on modern China, trying to explain what the mechanisms are that might induce an autocratic government to adopt congruent policies. Although there is no party or electoral competition, the leader worries deposition by coup d'├ętat by the selectorate and revolutionary threats from the citizens. We build a three players political-agency model, with the leader being the agency, the selectorate and the citizens being the principles. The effectiveness of the selectorate and the existence of revolutionary threats are two factors determine the outcomes. As the size of the selectorate and the willingness to revolt vary dramatically across countries, different types of autocracies arise, with some being kleptocraitc and some being accountable.

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