Junyan Jiang

2016-2017 CSCC Postdoctoral Fellow

Junyan Jiang received his PhD in political science from the University of Chicago in August 2016. He is broadly interested in informal institutions, public opinion, and elite-mass interactions in authoritarian regimes, with a special focus on China. His book project, Fragmented Unity: Patronage Politics and Authoritarian Resilience in China, examines how informal patron-client networks shaped the patterns of political and economic governance in China. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that these informal networks are merely a source of conflicts, corruption, and inefficiency, this book argues that they are the central institution that binds actors across different levels, structures political competition among the elites, and lays the foundation upon which formal institutions can properly function. Drawing a large, original biographical database of over 4,000 of city, provincial, and central-level elites, and in-depth interviews with current and retired officials from 5 provinces, this book demonstrates that patronage networks contributed to the regime’s resilience by sustaining credible power sharing at the national level and by providing agents with high-powered incentives to undertake challenging developmental and policy tasks at the local level. In addition to the book manuscript, Junyan is also currently working on several projects that examine informal state-business relations and the policy consequences of internet-based participation in China. His research was supported by the Ford Foundation and the National Science Foundation and has appeared in journals such as Comparative Political Studies. He received his B.A in economics and finance from the University of Hong Kong.