Chinese state capitalism: a new research agenda for political economy





Published date: 

December, 2015


Chih-shian Liou


  Compared to other political-economic systems, state capitalism has been a competitive system in the global market since the global financial crisis in 2008. The relationship between state capitalism and China’s robust economic development has attracted attention from both academics and practitioners. Yet the review of the existing literature indicates that little work has been done to conceptualize related phenomena and provide a theoretical framework. On the one hand, while most scholars acknowledge that the political-economic system in China is not a socialist one, there is no consensus on the current system of Chinese political economy. On the other hand, even though studies characterize the Chinese political-economic system as state capitalism, they are inconsistent in defining and conceptualizing the term ‘Chinese state capitalism’. As such, it is hard to generate meaningful dialogue among researchers and to build a convincing conceptual framework. By exploring whether Chinese state capitalism exists and what constitutes Chinese state capitalism, this article argues that researchers should engage in the study of Chinese state capitalism from the perspective of comparative capitalism, by which the state-market interactions in China can be generalized. In so doing, researchers of Chinese state capitalism will be able to draw meaningful comparisons with other state capitalist systems and contribute to the field of comparative politics.