Contrasts in China and Soviet reform: sub-national and national causes

Lai, Hongyi (2005) Contrasts in China and Soviet reform: sub-national and national causes. Asian Journal of Political Science, 13 (1). pp. 1-21. ISSN 0218-5377

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Why did reform in China and the former Soviet Union produce drastically different outcomes? Why did some provinces in China embrace faster economic reform than others? This article argues that the state sector and reform initiatives in the sub-national units, reform strategies, entrenchment and maturation of central planning, the size of the defence industry, policy choice and the historical context help explain the differences in Soviet and Chinese reform courses and outcomes. A predominant state sector in the former Soviet republics had stifled local reform initiatives. Gorbachev resorted to democratisation in order to unbolt the gate for popular support for marketisation, yet resulting in the breakup of the Soviet Union and destabilising the economy. In China, some provinces had sizable non-state sectors and were inclined to push forth marketization. Reform resulted in expanding non-state sectors, generating high growth and encouraging the regime to maintain its monopoly of power. China’s reform also benefited from a yet-to-be-entrenched and rudimentary central planning, a small defence sector, popular backlash against past policies, and reformist pragmatic strategy.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Asian Journal of Political Science, 13(1) (2005), available online:
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Contemporary Chinese Studies
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Liu, Zhenxing
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2014 21:42
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 20:30

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