e-Autocracy: How Social Media Helps the Chinese State Surveil Protests and Spread Propaganda

The Chinese government has invested heavily in surveillance systems that exploit information on social media. This column shows that these systems are very effective, even in their simplest form. From the government’s point of view, social media, although unattractive as a potential outlet for organised social protest, is useful as a method to surveil protests, monitor local officials, and disseminate propaganda.

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Can Credit Tightening Spur Social Unrest? Evidence from 1930s China

In 1933 the United States launched its Silver Purchase program, which raised silver prices worldwide, drained China’s silver stock, and caused credit to Chinese firms to contract sharply. In a new paper, economists at Tilburg and Bocconi universities use the incident as a natural experiment to examine whether economic shocks can trigger labor unrest and boost support for fringe political parties.  

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How China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign Is Moving Financing Away from State-Owned Enterprises

Are anti-corruption reforms effective in reducing economic rent seeking and constraining the influence of special interests? New research from Tsinghua University PBC School of Finance finds that anti-corruption investigations in China are associated with credit reallocation from less productive state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to more productive non-SOEs. The series of investigations constitute staggered events to identify the causal impact of anti-corruption reforms on bank financing.

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Return of the State: Banking on Diplomacy

If, as California political legend Jesse M. Unruh once quipped, “money is the mother’s milk of politicians,” it’s reasonable to expect that countries might wield their financial power for geopolitical purposes on the world stage. Accordingly, a fascinating new paper slated to be presented at the upcoming Stigler Center Political Economy of Finance conference tracks how China punishes countries whose heads of state accept meetings with the Dalai Lama by curbing bilateral lending flows from its state banks.  

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“In a System with Dominance, There is Built-In Resistance to Change”: ProMarket Interviews Bernard Yeung, Part 2

In the second part of his interview with ProMarket, Bernard Yeung—one of the economists who laid the foundations of scientific research on economic power concentration—discusses free trade, the connection between wealth and power, and why governments may actually prefer markets controlled by dominant players rather than by many competitors.  

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