Organized Panel Session
Asia has been both the most economically dynamic region of the world for the last two generation and home to a wide range of undeniably “crony” state-business relations, whether from an enhanced role for the state in the economy, rent-seeking on the part of private sector capitalists, or both. This panel features four papers, which vary in geographic focus and empirical approach, focused on how state authority in non-democratic settings is affected by economic change and interactions with firms. Yue Hou looks at the role of the China-baked Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), comparing its projects with those of similar international institutions to investigate the extent to which the AIIB aligns with China’s state preferences, i.e. energy security and domestic reforms. Edmund Malesky (with Markus Taussig) examines the impact of business participation in regulatory change in Vietnam. Through a survey experiment, they find that firms are likely to perceive regulation as more effective and government regulatory authority more legitimate through business participation. Peter Lorentzen’s paper (with Xi Lu) looks at the political foundations of China’s economic growth in the context of Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign. The paper argues that the campaign is addressing the decline in meritocratic promotions within the party-state and can be interpreted as an effort to reclaim state authority from extensive crony networks. Meg Rithmire examines the preferences of business elites in the 2018 Malaysian elections, finding that elites preferred a return to Mahathir-style power concentration because they expect concentrated state authority to limit political extortion.