Cities and Stability: Urbanization, Redistribution, and Regime Survival in China

Paperback | July 4, 2014

byJeremy Wallace

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Cities bring together masses of people, allow them to communicate and hide, and to transform private grievances into political causes, often erupting in urban protests that can destroy regimes. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has shaped urbanization via migration restrictions andredistributive policy since 1949 in ways that help account for the regime's endurance, China's surprising comparative lack of slums, and its curious moves away from urban bias over the past decade. Cities and Stability details the threats that cities pose for authoritarian regimes, regime responsesto those threats, and how those responses can backfire by exacerbating the growth of slums and cities.Cross-national analyses of nondemocratic regime survival link larger cities to shorter regimes. To compensate for the threat urban threat, many regimes, including the CCP, favor cities in their policy-making. Cities and Stability shows this urban bias to be a Faustian Bargain, stabilizing largecities today but encouraging their growth and concentration over time.While attempting to industrialize, the Chinese regime created a household registration (hukou) system to restrict internal movement, separating urban and rural areas. China's hukou system served as a loophole, allowing urbanites to be favored but keeping farmers in the countryside. As these barrierseroded with economic reforms, the regime began to replace repression-based restrictions with economic incentives to avoid slums by improving economic opportunities in the interior and the countryside. Yet during the global Great Recession of 2008-09, the political value of the hukou system emergedas migrant workers, by the tens of millions, left coastal cities and dispersed across China's interior villages, counties, and cities. The government's stimulus policies, a combination of urban loans for immediate relief and long-term infrastructure aimed at the interior, reduced discontent tomanageable levels and locales.

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Cities bring together masses of people, allow them to communicate and hide, and to transform private grievances into political causes, often erupting in urban protests that can destroy regimes. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has shaped urbanization via migration restrictions andredistributive policy since 1949 in ways that help acco...

Jeremy Wallace is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:July 4, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199378991

ISBN - 13:9780199378999

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. Urban Bias: A Faustian Bargain3. Cities, Redistribution, and Regime Survival4. China's Loophole to the Faustian Bargain of Urban Bias5. The Fiscal Shift: Migration, Instability, and Redistribution6. Return to Sender: Hukou, Stimulus, and the Great Recession7. Under Pressure: Urban Bias and External Forces8. ConclusionBibliographyAppendix