BOOK TALK: “Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for its Rulers,” by Jennifer Pan
FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC | ONLINE ONLY (VIA ZOOM) | REGISTRATION REQUIRED–LINK FORTHCOMING
Assistant Professor of Communication, Stanford University
Professor of Social Policy
Founding Director, China Center for Social Policy
ABOUT THE EVENT
What are the costs of the Chinese regime’s fixation on quelling dissent in the name of political order, or “stability”? In her newly published book, Welfare for Autocrats, Stanford Professor Jennifer Pan (bio) 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 book 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. More event information can be found here.
This lecture is part of the 2019-2020 annual lecture series on “Using Scientific Evidence to Address Social Challenges in China” cosponsored by the Columbia China Center for Social Policy and Weatherhead East Asian Institute and supported by the Columbia School of Social Work.