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Regulating the Visible Hand?The Institutional Implications of Chinese State Capitalism$
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Benjamin L. Liebman and Curtis J. Milhaupt

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190250256

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190250256.001.0001

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The Social Relations of Chinese State Capitalism

The Social Relations of Chinese State Capitalism

(p.224) (p.225) 11 The Social Relations of Chinese State Capitalism
Regulating the Visible Hand?

Mary E. Gallagher

Oxford University Press

Despite the revival of research on state capitalism, the domestic foundations of state capitalism are poorly understood, even ignored. Although analysts note that state capitalism is associated with political illiberalism, there is little inquiry into how these authoritarian regimes maintain power at home. This chapter explores the domestic configuration of state capitalism in China. Through a discussion of China’s labor legislation and labor market institutions over the reform period, it argues that China has thus far successfully maintained a balance between two contradictory impulses: statist control and market competition. It focuses on three main areas that demonstrate the state’s adaptation over time: (1) market versus regulatory mechanisms to manage labor, (2) exclusionary versus inclusionary modes of social welfare, and (3) a detached versus embedded role of the state in social conflict. The state’s approach to labor issues has evolved over the reform period, shifting from a detached state relying on market mechanisms to a more embedded state relying on regulation.

Keywords:   Chinese reform period, labor market regulation, managing social conflict, political illiberalism, state capitalism

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