Becoming Global Billionaires from Mainland China: Theory and Evidence Abstract: The increase in the number of global billionaires from mainland is a puzzle given the theoretical implication of ``extractive institutions''. Guided by a new conceptual framework linking social-political origins of the billionaire entrepreneur to their capital structures, I show, under conditions of an open economy, politically unconnected billionaire entrepreneurs (e.g., Jack Ma) could attenuate, to some degree, the political economy as well as financial frictions by soliciting capital injections from foreign venture capitalists. Building a unique database to test the validity of my framework, I find, using a human equation, that (i) the politically unconnected billionaire entrepreneurs financed by foreign venture capitalists outside mainland China are more likely to float their companies outside mainland China (mainly in Hong Kong and the U.S), use offshore financing vehicles, and make entries into the innovative sectors; and (ii) the politically connected global billionaire entrepreneurs, however, are strongly associated with a record of state-owned enterprise (SOE) restructuring. (JEL: G10, L26, O31, P26, O53, F63)
The Missing Leadership Element: the Impact of Authoritarian Turnover without Democratization Abstract: Empirical study using democratization as natural experiments (Papaioanou and Siourounis, 2008) misses a potential leadership element among authoritarian turnovers (e.g. Iran in 1979, Cuba in 1959) prevalent in the developing world. Using a newly constructed dataset, I consider the growth effect of authoritarian turnover without democratization as a natural experiment. The empirical findings document a few novel results: (a) an exogenous authoritarian turnover without democratization has on average limited effects; (b) party regimes are markedly more robust than other authoritarian systems; (c) the degree of political institutionalization (e.g. state capacity) seems to account for a nontrivial proportion of the variation harking back to Hungtinton (2006). (JEL: P16, O5, O11).
Pre-doctoral Publication: Kezhou Xiao, and Brantly Womack. "Distortion and Credibility within China's Internal Information System." Journal of Contemporary China 23. 88 (2014): 680-697. [The published version: pdf.] Reprinted in Chinese Authoritarianism in the Information Age: Internet, Media, and Public Opinion (2018)
Chinese Authoritarianism in the Information Age: Internet, Media, and Public Opinion. [Book website: here.] Abstract: This book examines information and public opinion control by the authoritarian state in response to popular access to information and upgraded political communication channels among the citizens in contemporary China. Empowered by mass media, particularly social media and other information technology, Chinese citizen’s access to information has been expanded. Publicly focusing events and opinions have served as catalysts to shape the agenda for policy making and law making, narrow down the set of policy options, and change the pace of policy implementation. Yet, the authoritarian state remains in tight control of media, including social media, to deny the free flow of information and shape public opinion through a centralized institutional framework for propaganda and information technologies. The evolving process of media control and public opinion manipulation has constrained citizen’s political participation and strengthened Chinese authoritarianism in the information age. The chapters originally published as articles in the Journal of Contemporary China.