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“Membership Recruitment Strategies in Single-Party Regimes: Evidence from China” by Fabio Angiolillo

January 12, 2022 @ 9:00 am 10:00 am JST

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Author: Fabio Angiolillo (Hong Kong University)

Abstract: In single-party regimes, what is the impact of changing social structure on ruling party decision-making in recruiting new rank-and-file members? Taking China as a case study, the paper analyzes the relationship between applicants to the Chinese Communist Party and ruling party’s selection strategy during the decade 2005-2015. The emergence of white-collar workers as prominent social group has led the ruling party to adopt a strategy of co-opting them to the exclusion of laborers. Using CGSS surveys and fixed-effect regression models, the article finds robust evidences that white-collar workers are progressively recruited more, regardless of their lower rate in application, while laborers are denied membership despite increasing rates of application. Different engagement levels are explained by the relative advantaged position acquired by the middle-class within the Chinese socio-economic structure. The paper concludes that changes in social structure can result in changing ruling party’s organization structure.

Discussants: Roselyn Hsueh (Temple), Daniel Koss (Harvard), and Jason Douglas Todd (Duke Kunshan University).

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