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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Awardee:GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, THE
Doing Business As Name:George Washington University
PD/PI:
  • Bruce J Dickson
  • (202) 994-4186
  • bdickson@gwu.edu
Award Date:01/23/2006
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ NaN
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 213,460
  • FY 2006=$213,460
Start Date:02/01/2006
End Date:01/31/2010
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:490100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Collaborative Research: Private Entrepreneurs as Agents of Political Change in China
Federal Award ID Number:0550444
DUNS ID:043990498
Parent DUNS ID:043990498
Program:Political Science
Program Officer:
  • Brian Humes
  • (703) 292-7284
  • bhumes@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:1922 F Street NW
City:Washington
State:DC
ZIP:20052-0086
County:Washington
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:George Washington University
Street:1922 F Street NW
City:Washington
State:DC
ZIP:20052-0086
County:Washington
Country:US
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

This project evaluates the potential of China's private entrepreneurs to serve as agents of political change. The dramatic growth of China's private sector has created independent sources of wealth, power, and influence that many scholars have shown are key factors in a country's democratization. While the political implications of China's rapid economic development have not yet been fully realized, many scholars, politicians, and journalists anticipate not only that economic development is leading toward democratization in China, but also that private entrepreneurs are likely to be agents of change in that process. Previous studies have not shown support for these assumptions, but they are not definitive, limited either to one locale or one type of enterprise. This project improves on previous studies by accounting for regional variation, measuring the levels of attitudinal and behavioral support for democratization and democracy among China's private entrepreneurs, and examining the socioeconomic and contextual determinants of such support. In order to compare our results with previous work, both comparative studies and case studies of China, the questionnaire used in this survey includes a core set of measures that are directly comparable to those that have been used in those studies. The results from this study will help to address two critical and much debated theoretical questions: (1) What factors influence the level of support for democracy and democratization among citizens in a non-democratic country, and (2) how do economic development and rising prosperity contribute to democratization? In particular, the investigators are interested in whether private entrepreneurs in China support democracy, and whether they behave in ways that promote democratization. The theoretical questions posed by this project are derived not only from current debates about the prospects for democracy in China, but also ongoing debates among scholars regarding the cultural, structural, and strategic variables that influence political change in general, and democratization in particular. Broader Impacts: Integration of Research and Education: The project includes the participation of graduate research assistants to promote the integration of their education with original research. The resulting products will also be appropriate as college texts. New Collaboration: The proposed project is the first collaboration between the two principal investigators, and the first collaboration between either of them with the Chinese partner, Prof. Dai Yuanchen of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. This new initiative will therefore enhance their research agendas and promote scholarly communication. Policy Impact: The findings from this project will have immediate implications for American foreign policy. A better understanding of the goals and preferences of China's private entrepreneurs and the support for democracy among entrepreneurs is necessary to evaluate the prospects for political change and to devise proper policies to promote it.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Jie Chen and Bruce J. Dickson "Allies of the State: Regime Support and Democratic Support among China's Private Entrepreneurs" China Quarterly, v.196, 2008, p.780.

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