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“Downsizing” the Chinese State: Government Retrenchment in the 1990s

  • John P. Burns

The Chinese Communist Party has maintained tight control over the institutions and processes for creating and deleting official posts. The Party's goal of maintaining as many official positions as possible to preserve political patronage and social stability conflicts with the need to curb administrative expenses and cut government deficits. Aggregate data indicate that the downsizing campaigns of the 1990s have not been particularly successful and that staffing levels in local government are probably to a large extent politically determined. A case study reveals that some local governments may have officially downsized while expanding the total size of public employment.

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The China Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0305-7410
  • EISSN: 1468-2648
  • URL: /core/journals/china-quarterly
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