Explaining Activity in Authoritarian Assemblies: Evidence from China. Wiebrecht, F. (2022)Journal of East Asian Studies. [DOI]
Who attempts to influence policymaking through authoritarian assemblies and why are some delegates considerably more active in doing so than others? Drawing on original data from provincial People's Political Consultative Conferences (PPCCs) in China, this study adopts a delegate-centered perspective and develops a theory of delegates’ activity in authoritarian assemblies. It argues that delegates’ activity can be explained by a combination of both cooptation theory and an understanding of delegates’ position within the authoritarian regime and hierarchy. The results highlight that core elites with more direct means of influencing policymaking will forego assemblies. Yet, peripheral elites lack other institutional channels of access to decision-makers and have to voice their demands in authoritarian legislatures. This study highlights the need for disaggregating groups of actors in authoritarian politics and offers an alternative view of cooptation particularly relevant for closed authoritarian regimes.
The dynamic role of governments in adopting policy innovations in China.Huang, B., and Wiebrecht, F. (2021).Policy & Politics. [DOI]
A growing number of studies have paid attention to the dynamic nature of vertical government interactions in authoritarian China. Yet, less attention has been paid to the question of why higher-level governments play different roles in diverse cases of innovation adoptions. Building on the extant literature, this study introduces the concept of innovation copyright, i.e., the perceived ownership of the innovation, to explain the different roles of higher-level government involvement in innovation adoption. A comparative case study of policy innovations in China highlights that if higher-level governments perceive that they own the innovation copyright, they act as proactive facilitators, and if higher-level governments perceive that the innovation copyright belongs to local governments, they are involved as political backers. The copyright structures the expectations of higher-level and local governments and as a consequence determines their roles in innovation adoptions.
Between elites and opposition: legislatures' strength in authoritarian regimes.Wiebrecht, F. (2021).Democratization. [DOI]
Virtually all authoritarian regimes have legislatures, and their role in bolstering regimes has been highlighted in recent research. Yet, the strength of authoritarian legislatures has received relatively little attention, although it can differ remarkably across regimes. This study utilizes an index of legislative strength to analyse parliaments in authoritarian regimes from 1946 to 2010. The empirical findings highlight that three factors are particularly important in predicting legislative strength, namely the level of personalism and the existence of an opposition and elections. However, beyond these factors, it appears that stronger legislatures are not generally associated with less authoritarian control over legislative and electoral processes. Yet, the findings also illustrate significant differences between de facto and de jure powers and across time periods. More competitive electoral and legislative procedures are linked to more de facto powers and stronger legislatures particularly after 1990. The findings contribute to our understanding of the institutional landscape in authoritarian regimes and provide a basis for future research on the effects of legislative strength.
Cultural co-orientation revisited: The case of the South China Morning Post.Wiebrecht, F. (2018).Global Media and China. [DOI] [PDF]
The freedom of press is one aspect that leaders from the West often criticise about China. As former British colony, Hong Kong has been able to preserve its special status with constitutional rights and liberties that also include the freedom of press. However, in recent years, sentiments of increased influence from Beijing have led to fears that it would curb the freedoms enjoyed by residents of the Special Administrative Region. However, instead of clear unambiguous interferences, Beijing has opted for an indirect approach that is predominantly characterised by the salience of economic considerations in reporting news binding the media outlets closer to the position of Beijing. This article shows that the South China Morning Post has undergone an editorial shift that moves it closer to the position of the Chinese government.