Authoritarian Governance: The Case of Food Safety in China

Despite the success of many authoritarian regimes in staving off democratic transition, we still know relatively little about how concerns about political stability affects day-to day governance decisions in authoritarian regimes. I explore this question through the lens of food safety regulation in China, which has grappled with serious food safety problems since the early 2000's. Using subnational Chinese data, I show that the enforcement of food safety regulation is conditioned by, on the one hand, the degree to which consumers grievances over poor food safety display collective action potential and the extent to which there is outside media coverage of food safety crises and on the other hand, whether government officials face economic incentives to ignore food safety problems.

This is the third empirical chapter of my dissertation: The Politics of Food Safety: Detection and Perceptions of Food Safety Problems in China

See here for a draft version of the paper.



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