For much of its history China’s agrarian economy has experienced involutionary growth due to high population density. However, since the Reform and Opening era, the emergence of a new agricultural model focused on the production of high-value products and the increase of cultivated land per worker has led to a certain degree of de-involution.
According to Han Gang 韩钢, political changes in China are not necessarily initiated by strong leaders but can also happen under the leadership of weak leaders 弱势领袖. Compared to strong leaders, the politics of weak leaders is characterized by flexibility, an accommodating and communicative stance, as well as by compromise.
Cao and Wang (2020) argue that China’s central government introduced the Tiao-Kuai 条块 – two parallel governance structures – to control conflicts arising between different state capacities by separately assigning conflicting capacities to different governance structures.
Huang and Zhou (2019) argue that due to the shift in urban local government’s policy imperatives from economic growth to social policy and social governance, the performance assessment of local officials has refocused itself on impression-based results. This translates itself into the emergence of a new competition mechanism – paired competition – between pairs of local governments and state agencies.