In this incisive analysis of one of the most spectacular economic breakthroughs in the Deng era, Jean C. Oi shows how and why Chinese rural-based industry has become the fastest growing economic sector not just in China but in the world. Oi argues that decollectivization and fiscal decentralization provided party officials of the localities—counties, townships, and villages—with the incentives to act as entrepreneurs and to promote rural industrialization in many areas of the Chinese countryside. As a result, the corporatism practiced by local officials has become effective enough to challenge the centrality of the national state.
Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor on Chinese Politics in the department of political science and a Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. She is the founding director of the Stanford China Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center and also the founding Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University. Professor Oi’s research focuses on comparative politics, with special expertise on China’s political economy and institutions in the process of reform. Taking an institutional and micro-level approach allows Oi to identify the key players and fully reveal their interests.