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China's Gilded Age Synopsis

Why has China grown so fast for so long despite vast corruption? In China's Gilded Age, Yuen Yuen Ang argues that not all types of corruption hurt growth, nor do they cause the same kind of harm. Ang unbundles corruption into four varieties: petty theft, grand theft, speed money, and access money. While the first three types impede growth, access money - elite exchanges of power and profit - cuts both ways: it stimulates investment and growth but produces serious risks for the economy and political system. Since market opening, corruption in China has evolved toward access money. Using a range of data sources, the author explains the evolution of Chinese corruption, how it differs from the West and other developing countries, and how Xi's anti-corruption campaign could affect growth and governance. In this formidable yet accessible book, Ang challenges one-dimensional measures of corruption. By unbundling the problem and adopting a comparative-historical lens, she reveals that the rise of capitalism was not accompanied by the eradication of corruption, but rather by its evolution from thuggery and theft to access money. In doing so, she changes the way we think about corruption and capitalism, not only in China but around the world.

China's Gilded Age Press Reviews

'This path-breaking study will change how we think about the link between corruption and growth ... original and convincing.' Bruce Dickson, George Washington University 'Yuen Yuen Ang has emerged as her generation's leading analyst and public interpreter of China's development experience, and the distinctive strategies underpinning it. Her latest offering is broadly important, intellectually solid, immensely interesting and uniquely accessible to scholars, lay readers and practitioners alike. It will be an academic blockbuster.' Michael Woolcock, World Bank and Harvard University 'Skillfully unbundling forms of corruption and placing China's 'Gilded Age' firmly in comparative and historical perspective, Yuen Yuen Ang brings a fresh and penetrating new perspective to one of the central puzzles of the current era - and reminds Americans of the deep-seated corruption of their own early period of rapid industrialization.' Andrew G. Walder, Stanford University 'Both Xi Jinping and critics of the Chinese government agree corruption is bad for development. Transgressing this simplistic notion, Ang shows that not all corruption is equally bad for growth. Her brilliant analysis explains China's hyper growth and warns of the troubles ahead.' Ho-fung Hung, John Hopkins University 'This book will generate substantial debate. Ang stakes out a unique position in the debate over the role of corruption in China's economic development and the effect it will have on China's future. Ang makes a valuable contribution in unbundling corruption, methodically demonstrating the ways that both corruption and corrupt actors differ. After reading this book, no one should be able to maintain that corruption is a unitary phenomenon; it manifests itself in many ways.' Philip Nichols, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania 'This path-breaking study will change how we think about the link between corruption and growth ... original and convincing.' Bruce Dickson, George Washington University 'Yuen Yuen Ang has emerged as her generation's leading analyst and public interpreter of China's development experience, and the distinctive strategies underpinning it. Her latest offering is broadly important, intellectually solid, immensely interesting and uniquely accessible to scholars, lay readers and practitioners alike. It will be an academic blockbuster.' Michael Woolcock, World Bank and Harvard University 'Skillfully unbundling forms of corruption and placing China's 'Gilded Age' firmly in comparative and historical perspective, Yuen Yuen Ang brings a fresh and penetrating new perspective to one of the central puzzles of the current era - and reminds Americans of the deep-seated corruption of their own early period of rapid industrialization.' Andrew G. Walder, Stanford University 'Both Xi Jinping and critics of the Chinese government agree corruption is bad for development. Transgressing this simplistic notion, Ang shows that not all corruption is equally bad for growth. Her brilliant analysis explains China's hyper growth and warns of the troubles ahead.' Ho-fung Hung, John Hopkins University 'This book will generate substantial debate. Ang stakes out a unique position in the debate over the role of corruption in China's economic development and the effect it will have on China's future. Ang makes a valuable contribution in unbundling corruption, methodically demonstrating the ways that both corruption and corrupt actors differ. After reading this book, no one should be able to maintain that corruption is a unitary phenomenon; it manifests itself in many ways.' Philip Nichols, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Book Information

ISBN: 9781108478601
Publication date: 28th May 2020
Author: Yuen Yuen (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) Ang
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 266 pages
Categories: Asian history, Political economy, Comparative politics,

About Yuen Yuen (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) Ang

Yuen Yuen Ang is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan. Her book How China Escaped the Poverty Trap (2016) received the Peter Katzenstein Book Prize in Political Economy and the Viviana Zelizer Book Award in Economic Sociology. She has been named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow for 'high-caliber scholarship [on] some of the most pressing issues of our times'. In addition, she has received grants, fellowships, and an essay prize from the American Council of Learned Societies, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Chiang Ching Kuo Foundation, Gates Foundation, and Smith Richardson Foundation. Her commentaries and interviews have appeared on ...

More About Yuen Yuen (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) Ang

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