The advantages of ambiguity? Development, rule formation and property rights during transition in China

Goldfinch, S. (2016) The advantages of ambiguity? Development, rule formation and property rights during transition in China. Asian Studies Review, 40 (3). pp. 394-412. ISSN 1035-7823.

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Abstract

Certainty and clarity of legally defined individual private property rights, protected by and from a constrained state, are doctrines of neoclassical economics-derived development theory. But absent these conditions, there may be alternative mechanisms to provide some protection for business development and property. Using a case study drawn from China, I will argue that collective, contested, ambiguous and perhaps absence of legally defined property rights - and a relatively unconstrained state with limited rule of law - has not led to a failure in economic development terms. In some cases there may have been advantages in the Chinese post-Maoist context with economic liberalisation reforms beginning in 1978, and with the building of meaning and institutions found in a transitional state, where rules are unclear and open to debate, and much is up for grabs. Indeed, ambiguity – where something can be understood in variable ways - may have allowed for innovation and experimentation in this transition.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > The Business School
Depositing User: Shaun Goldfinch
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 13:24
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2017 12:04
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/15237

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00