Institutional Genes of China’s Socio-Economic Development
AbstractThe Chinese endeavor of replacing imperial institutions with constitutionalism since the late 19th century ended up establishing a Soviet type of totalitarian regime in the mid-twentieth century. The subsequent Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution changed the institution into regionally decentralized totalitarianism, which is the institutional base of the post-Mao reform and explains the trajectories, difficulties, and limitations of China’s reforms. Why have China’s institutions evolved in the ways we observe? How does this institutional evolution affect socio-economic development?
To address these questions, I identify internal and external “institutional genes” and discuss their origins and evolutions. The so-called “institutional genes” are basic institutional structures, which determine players’ incentives and are repeatedly self-reproduced over long historical processes.