China's management of urbanization: Migration restrictions before and after the global financial crisis


Dr. Jeremy Wallace, Department of Political Science
Rank at the time of award: Assistant Professor
Left OSU 2015) 


This project addresses the Institute for Population Research's  research theme of population distribution. My work uses demographic and geographic data-both of which have been under-utilized in the field of political science-to improve our understanding of politics in the developing world, especially in dictatorships and specifically within China. The strategies used by autocratic regimes to maintain power are fundamentally shaped by the distribution of population within their borders. The principal cleavage for redistributive policy in most of the developing world is the urban-rural divide. I argue that the redistribution of resources from the countryside to cities is both stabilizing in the short-term and self-undermining in the long-term for regimes due to the threat of urban protests. Whether it is through violent crackdowns in the streets of the capital city or an insurgency founded on the frustrations of the periphery from having their wealth expropriated to give to city dwellers, the redistributive choices of an authoritarian regime are never far removed from issues of security, geography, and demography. Now is a crucial time to see what effects the economic crisis is having on Chinese migration and stability patterns and on the policies that the state utilizes in order to attempt to avoid threats associated with an economic downturn.  My work on this project is primarily composed of a book manuscript and a number of articles to be submitted to disciplinary (political science) and area studies (China/East Asia) journals. I write to request funds to systematically collect information relating to local variation in China's migration control regime, the hukou system.
This information is critical to understanding China's politics and development but also will serve as the base for a larger proposal for external funding to collect cross-national information on internal migration restrictions. 

Publications resulting from this seed grant

Jeremy Wallace. Cities and Stability: Urbanization, Redistribution, and Regime Survival in China. Oxford University Press, July 28, 2014