The author claimed that the transition of China is trapped by the predation of the state, namely, corruption. Pei argued that the state capacity and institutional norms are reduced by the decentralization of economy under the political logic of gradualism. On the one hand, the state has to maintain the rent-seeking behaviors of local cadres and intelligentsia. On the other hand, the state has to deal with the growing contradiction between state and society. Therefore, the developmental state will continuously become incapacitated.
The idea is interesting, but the evidence is inconsistent with the other studies. Most of observers have found that the fiscal capacity of the central government is progressing (e.g. Yang 2004). Thus, a more convincing analysis of the spend of public finance is necessary for Pei to support the "trapped argument."...Continua