Political Power

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in underlying factors such as geography or climate. However, among others Acemoglu (2005) treats institutions as endogenous since these "humanly-devised rules" in turn impose constraints on and affect incentives of the agents.10 He distinguishes between four different approaches regarding the determination of institutions (Acemoglu, 2003, 2005).11 Here the "social conflict approach” is applied, implying that institutions shape incentives of individuals and thus determine the allocation of resources. Choosing an institution is associated with distributional implications; these, in turn, induce preferences of individuals concerning different institutions. Accordingly, future political and economic institutions and the distribution of resources…show more content…
The dynamics between de facto and de jure power could be described as following: today's de jure power distribution is constituted in current political institutions, whereas groups with de facto power can shape the development and thus the future distribution of political power (Acemoglu and Robinson, 2006). Today's allocation of political power is reflected in tomorrows institutions. This is based on the assumption that today's powerful agents can determine future political institutions, which grant de jure political power of tomorrow. Temporary political power for the citizens might evolve through revolution or social unrest. If repression is too costly, elites might need to commit to future policies rather by introducing democracy and more political power for the citizens in the future (Acemoglu and Robinson, 2008). As I am going to approach the question whether the current political system of China is sustainable, i'd like to mention two important points: I am not seeking to make any predictions on China’s future development, as this would require an empirical model in order to examine the dynamics of the transition. Second, I…show more content…
Second, examining the incentives and preferences of the key interest groups, I shed light on the China’s power distribution. Developed in the 1980s and 1990s, Lieberthal's model of "Fragmented Authoritarianism" provides a framework to study the distribution of power and decision-making authority within China's vertically segmented political system. (Lieberthal and Oksenberg, 1988; Lieberthal and Lampton, 1992).13 The model considers the "fragmented and disjointed" authority below the very peak of China's regime as a main feature of the political system after the reforms in the 1980s (Lieberthal and Lampton, 1992). Is this still applicable today? I refer to Saich (2010) and Lawrence and Martin (2013) for outlining China’s political institutions14 and further I include Mertha’s review (2009) on FA and Xu’s analysis of the “Regionally Decentralised Authoritarian” regime (2011) in order to take into account recent developments. In contrast to Mao's leadership period, who enjoyed absolute power, now a rather "collective headship" has been established and emphasised by Chinese authorities (Li, 2012). The Party’s General Secretary Xi Jinping is ranked first among the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese

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