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Article: Punctuated Equilibrium and the Information Disadvantage of Authoritarianism: Evidence from the People's Republic of China

TitlePunctuated Equilibrium and the Information Disadvantage of Authoritarianism: Evidence from the People's Republic of China
Authors
Issue Date2016
Citation
Policy Studies Journal,  How to Cite?
AbstractAccording to the punctuated equilibrium thesis, government attention allocation alternates between long periods of stasis and dramatic spurts of disequilibrium because democratic institutions enable minority groups to obstruct change. This article presents a critical discrepancy in contemporary China, where punctuated instability is significantly more intense despite a lack of democratic institutions to empower minority obstructionism. Our empirical analysis further reveals that punctuated intensity goes even higher for Chinese regions facing fewer signs of social discontent. We attribute the intensification of punctuated dynamics to an information disadvantage arising from the lack of diverse, independent sources of information under authoritarianism. Our finding contributes to punctuated equilibrium theory by underlining the function of opposition groups not only as obstructionists but also as challengers to policy priorities. By marginalizing these challengers, authoritarian institutions confine attention to known problems, leading to serious delays in the discovery of and adjustment to emerging issues.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/224961

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChan, KN-
dc.contributor.authorZhao, S-
dc.date.accessioned2016-04-18T03:34:46Z-
dc.date.available2016-04-18T03:34:46Z-
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.identifier.citationPolicy Studies Journal, -
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/224961-
dc.description.abstractAccording to the punctuated equilibrium thesis, government attention allocation alternates between long periods of stasis and dramatic spurts of disequilibrium because democratic institutions enable minority groups to obstruct change. This article presents a critical discrepancy in contemporary China, where punctuated instability is significantly more intense despite a lack of democratic institutions to empower minority obstructionism. Our empirical analysis further reveals that punctuated intensity goes even higher for Chinese regions facing fewer signs of social discontent. We attribute the intensification of punctuated dynamics to an information disadvantage arising from the lack of diverse, independent sources of information under authoritarianism. Our finding contributes to punctuated equilibrium theory by underlining the function of opposition groups not only as obstructionists but also as challengers to policy priorities. By marginalizing these challengers, authoritarian institutions confine attention to known problems, leading to serious delays in the discovery of and adjustment to emerging issues.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.relation.ispartofPolicy Studies Journal-
dc.titlePunctuated Equilibrium and the Information Disadvantage of Authoritarianism: Evidence from the People's Republic of China-
dc.typeArticle-
dc.identifier.emailChan, KN: kwachan@hku.hk-
dc.identifier.authorityChan, KN=rp02084-
dc.identifier.doi10.1111/psj.12138-
dc.identifier.hkuros257520-

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