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Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for its Rulers

November 4, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Online Event
Please join us for a lecture with: Jennifer Pan, Assistant Professor of Communication, Stanford University Moderated by: Yao Lu, Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Columbia University What are the costs of the Chinese regime’s fixation on quelling dissent in the name of political order, or “stability”? This book project shows how China has reshaped its major social assistance program, Dibao, around this preoccupation, turning an effort to alleviate poverty into a tool of surveillance and repression. Novel datasets and a variety of methodologies show how this distortion of Dibao damages perceptions of government competence and legitimacy and can trigger unrest among those denied benefits. The project traces the transformation of China’s approach to enforcing order at the turn of the 21st century and identifies the phenomenon of seepage whereby one policy—in this case, quelling dissent—alters the allocation of resources and goals of unrelated areas of government. Jennifer Pan is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Stanford University. Her research examines the strategies authoritarian regimes employ to perpetuate their rule, including censorship, redistribution, and responsiveness, using large-scale data from traditional and digital media as well as experiments on media platforms. Her work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Science, and other peer-reviewed publications. Pan received her Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Government. She graduated from Princeton University, summa cum laude, in 2004, and until 2009, she was a consultant at McKinsey & Company based in New York and Beijing. She has also worked for the Chinese Center for Disease Control, the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative, and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Contact Information

Athina Fontenot
212-854-6916