Spatial Mobility in the Chinese Bureaucracy: A Model and Empirical Evidence

Xueguang Zhou, Stanford University

Spatial mobility among officials has been an important mechanism of political control in China’s governance. We propose a model of stratified mobility across administrative jurisdictions to explain patterns of spatial mobility in the Chinese bureaucracy, and develop related concepts, typologies, and measures for our empirical analyses. We illustrate our theoretical arguments using empirical findings of spatial mobility in a large bureaucracy—local governments in one province of China, from 1990 to 2008. This research contributes to the study of the Chinese bureaucracy by (1) providing baselines for the key empirical patterns of mobility among offices and across administrative levels; (2) developing a set of concepts, categories and related measurements for characterizing social network structures resulting from personnel flow across government offices.

Xueguang Zhou is a professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at Stanford University, where he is also the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in Economic Development and a senior fellow at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His main area of research is institutional changes in contemporary Chinese society and Chinese organizations and management. Professor Zhou currently conducts research on the rise of the bureaucratic state in China. He works with a research team to examine patterns of personnel flow among government offices to understand intra-organizational relationships and personnel management practice in the Chinese bureaucracy. He also studies the historical origins of the Chinese bureaucracy.

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Duration: 1:13:42

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018