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SPP 469

Author: Neil Munro
Description: Using data from the Asia Barometer nationwide survey in China of 2006, this paper takes as its dependent variable a question on strategies for overcoming delays in obtaining a government permit. When confronted with official obstructions, the modal Chinese response is to wait patiently; use of connections and writing letters of complaint are close rivals, whilst bribery and acting without a permit are marginal strategies. The paper tests theories concerning what influences choice of strategy, including contextual influences and variation at the level of individuals and households. A multinomial logit model is estimated first across all of China and then for urban and rural sub-samples using GDP per capita as a proxy for level of development. In terms of context, rural institutions marginally discourage engagement, and region matters, too, but, contrary to expectations derived from modernization theory, level of development does not influence choice of strategy. In terms of characteristics of individuals and households, generational differences, gender, political values and evaluations of government performance are all important influences. The dependent variable is found to be a useful measure of cultural norms affecting China’s chances of evolving into a modern state.

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