Articles

Forthcoming   “The Governing Paradox in a Transition Economy: Repeated Institutional Reforms and Increasing Regulatory Capture in China’s Energy Sector,Problems of Post-Communism. (Co-authored with Chung-min Tsai)

Why have administrative reforms failed to improve the governance of China’s energy sector? This article argues that, in the context of China’s partial reforms, strategies for revamping China’s energy sector have oscillated between centralization and decentralization, creating a diverse array of stakeholders without providing any institutional coordination among them. In addition, corporatized state-owned enterprises have their own commercial interests, giving them incentives to capture industrial regulators. As a result, regulatory capture has become a serious threat to the governance of China’s energy sector. The findings of this study carry implications for our understanding of regulatory development in transitional economies.

2019    「初探厚資料與中國大陸政治經濟現象:以國有企業部門為例」,問題與研究,第58卷第2期,頁1-28。(2019 “Thick Data and the Study of Chinese Political Economy: The Case of State-owned Enterprise Sector,” Wenti yu yanjiu, Vol. 58, No. 2(June): 1-28.)

As a reflection and supplement to data-driven research, thick data was firstly proposed as a complementary method of using data to engage in meaning mining in 2013. Through the case of Chinese political economy, this article demonstrates how the use of thick data enables researchers to overcome the problem of data distortion. It argues that meaningful use of data sources is based on the identification of actors. In order to do so, researchers are required to answer the following two questions: Who are the actors contributing to the tendency shown by the data? What are the interests and incentives of those actors? The second question necessitates an extensive analysis, which makes sense of human behavior in relation to the data we collect.

2018    「經濟國策與企業行為:『一帶一路』倡議與中國大陸石油與鐵路產業的發展」,中國大陸研究,第61卷第4期,頁31-55。(2018 “Economic Statecraft and the Behavior of Firms: “One Belt One Road” Initiatives and the Development of China’s Petroleum and Railway Industries,” Mainland China Studies, Vol. 61, No. 4(December): 31-55.)

With the strengthening of its economic muscle, China has often adopted economic statecraft, rather than military forces, to alter other countries’ behavior. The “One Belt, One Road”(OBOR) strategy that was initiated in 2013 is a good example. This article, building upon a neoclassical realist framework and using the cases of petroleum and railway firms, explores the variations in firms’ behavior when they carry out the agendas of OBOR. The article also argues that while China’s expanding economic statecraft is a function of its rise to great power status in international politics, the firms involved also impact how the agendas are performed, despite them not being the primary player of the OBOR agendas. For example, when a firm links to the global market at a higher degree, it behaves more like a commercial actor rather than as policy agent.

2017    “The Dual Role of Cadres and Entrepreneurs in China: The Evolution of Managerial Leadership in State-Monopolized Industries,” Asian Survey, Vol. 57, No. 6 (November/December): 1058-1085. (Co-authored with Chung-min Tsai)

By examining China’s state-monopolized industries, we explore the evolution of managerial behavior. With the party-state’s continued emphasis on meritocracy in elite management, managers of China’s state-owned enterprises play a hybrid role as both party cadres and business entrepreneurs. This also reflects the adaptability of the Chinese Communist Party in pursuing pro-market reform.

2016    「邁向職業經理人:公司化改制後中國大陸中央國有企業領導人的行為分析」,東亞研究,第47卷第2期,頁1-35。(與蔡中民合著) (2016 “Becoming Professional Managers: The Analysis of the Top Managers in China’s Central State-owned Enterprises after the Corporatization,” East Asian Studies, Vol. 47, No. 2 (December): 1-35. Co-authored with Chung-min Tsai)

The conventional wisdom holds that managers of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are Communist cadres whose behavior is governed more by state interests than economic logic. An increasing number of incidents, however, have shown a managerial inclination to protect firms’ commercial interests when they clash with state-mandated programs. Drawing on evidence from the state-monopolized industries in China, this study explores the transformation of managerial behavior from being state-driven toward being profit-driven. It argues that as a product of the party-state’s continued emphasis on meritocracy in elite management, SOE managers in China have been transformed into de facto entrepreneurs whose career promotion is linked to their economic performance. SOE managers in possession of commercial knowledge and economic ambition constitute a professional team that is leading Chinese state firms to compete in a globalized market. This new personnel management system in China’s SOE sector also reflects the adaptability of the Chinese Communist Party in pursuing pro-market reform.

2015    「中國國家資本主義:一個新的政治經濟學研究議程」,台灣政治學刊,第19卷第2期,頁41-80。(2015 “Chinese State Capitalism: A New Research Agenda for Political Economy, Taiwanese Political Science Review, Vol. 19, No. 2 (December): 41-80.)

Compared to other political-economic systems, state capitalism has been a competitive system in the global market since the global financial crisis in 2008. The relationship between state capitalism and China’s robust economic development has attracted attention from both academics and practitioners. Yet the review of the existing literature indicates that little work has been done to conceptualize related phenomena and provide a theoretical framework. On the one hand, while most scholars acknowledge that the political-economic system in China is not a socialist one, there is no consensus on the current system of Chinese political economy. On the other hand, even though studies characterize the Chinese political- economic system as state capitalism, they are inconsistent in defining and conceptualizing the term ‘Chinese state capitalism’. As such, it is hard to generate meaningful dialogue among researchers and to build a convincing conceptual framework. By exploring whether Chinese state capitalism exists and what constitutes Chinese state capitalism, this article argues that researchers should engage in the study of Chinese state capitalism from the perspective of comparative capitalism, by which the state- market interactions in China can be generalized. In so doing, researchers of Chinese state capitalism will be able to draw meaningful comparisons with other state capitalist systems and contribute to the field of comparative politics.

2014    “Rent Seeking at Home, Capturing Market Share Abroad: The Domestic Determinants of the Transnationalization of China State Construction Engineering Corporation,” World Development, Vol. 54, No. 2 (February): 220-231.

How do the Chinese central state and central state-owned construction enterprises interact with one another as China’s overseas contracting unfolds in the post-corporatization period? Building upon a neo-institutional analysis of the principal-agent relationship, this article finds that contrary to most of the accusations leveled against the global outreach of Chinese SOEs, state-backed transnationalization is by no means state-dominated. SOE managers’ continuous bureaucratic ties enable the firm to navigate through China’s gigantic but fragmented bureaucracy in favor of corporate commercial interests, which reflects the negotiated nature of the state-SOE relationship in the course of transnationalization.

2013    “Dual Transition in Reformed China: Property Rights and the Case of Zhongguancun,” Taiwanese Political Science Review, Vol.17, No. 1 (June): 227-258.

The resilience of the communist regime in China has been a puzzle in the study of dual transitions. By examining the property rights regime in China’s high-tech sector, this article argues that the reason for China’s extraordinary economic growth without political liberalization lies in the process of the reassignment of property rights. With a view to helping state agencies avoid financial difficulty, high-tech spin-off enterprises and their associated hybrid property rights regimes created space for the old authority structure to remain in place. In particular, these spin-off enterprises never cut their ties with the state. While such a strategy has proved effective in discouraging the state’s predatory behavior in the course of market transition, it is the cause of the enduring influence of the Chinese state on these enterprises. Given the nature of state-market interactions in technology-related industries, the study of high-tech spin-offs in Zhongguancun serves as a critical case to understand the change in power structure associated with the reassignment of property rights. Most importantly, the findings of this article carry implications for understanding the politics of dual transitions in China.

2009    “Bureaucratic Politics and Overseas Investment by Chinese State-Owned Oil Companies: Illusory Champions.Asian Survey, Vol. 49, No. 4 (July/August): 670-690.

From the state-centered perspective, China’s hunt for foreign energy deals has generated increasing uneasiness in international relations. By exploring Chinese national oil companies’ overseas expansion, this study finds that Chinese bureaucratic fragmentation in the context of the state’s changing relationship with state-owned enterprises has greater impact on firms’ offshore ventures than the state-centered perspective contends.

Book Chapters

2017    “Varieties of State Capitalism across the Taiwan Strait: A Comparison and Its Implications,” in Lowell Dittmer ed., Taiwan and China: Fitful Embrace. Berkeley: University of California Press.

2015    “Streamlining the Leviathan: The China Dream and Super-ministry Reform,” in Chih-shian Liou and Arthur S. Ding, eds., China Dreams: China’s New Leadership and Future Impacts. Singapore: World Scientific.

2013    “Between Hierarchy and Market: Managerial Career Paths in China’s Energy Sector,” in Chien-wen Kou and Xiaowei Zang, eds., Choosing China’s Leaders. London & New York: Routledge. (Co-authored with Chung-min Tsai)

Book Reviews

2011    Socialist Insecurity: Pensions and the Politics of Uneven Development in China, by Mark W. Frazier, Cornell University Press, 2010. Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3 (September-December): 501-504.

Edited Volumes

2015    China Dreams: China’s New Leadership and Future Impacts, Singapore: World Scientific. (Co-edited with Arthur S. Ding)

With the theme “China Dreams: Opportunities and Challenges,” this book contributes to emerging debates on Chinese new leadership’s adaptability to important political, economic, social, and global issues. Can China’s political system sustain “China Dreams,” a slogan ushered by Chinese President Xi Jinping? Does the fulfillment of “China Dreams” require political reform? Does the initiation of the agenda of “China Dreams” facilitate China’s economic transition? To what extent does “China Dreams” pave the way for China’s peaceful rise? By exploring the preceding questions, the essays by Lowell Dittmer, Thomas Gold, Victoria Tin-bor Hui, Chin-fu Hung, Scott L.Kastner, Huey-Lin Lee & Scott Y. Lin, Chih-shian Liou, Raviprasad Narayanan, Kellee S. Tsai, and Chung-min Tsai provide a comprehensive analysis of the agenda of China’s new leadership.

2014  兩岸社會發展的挑戰與轉型,與王振寰、王瑞琦合編,臺北:巨流圖書公司。 (2014 The Challenge and Transformation of Cross-Strait Social Development Taipei: Chuliu Publisher. Co-edited with Jenn-Hwan Wang and Juei-Chi Wang.).