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Peer Reviewed Publications.
Yujeong Yang and Wei Chen. "Different Demands, Varying Responses: Local Government Responses to Workers’ Collective Actions in South China ", The China Quarterly (2019) .
While Chinese local governments remain extremely wary of workers’ collective actions, they do not always suppress them; sometimes, they tolerate such actions and even seek to placate workers. What accounts for these different government responses to workers’ collective actions? Based on a sample of over 1,491 collective action cases that took place in Guangdong between 2011 and 2016, we find that the types of demands raised by workers during collective actions affect how local governments respond. Local governments are likely to forcefully intervene in collective actions in which workers make defensive claims concerning issues of payment. In contrast, local governments are likely to use non-forceful approaches in response to actions in which workers make defensive claims regarding social security.
Yujeong Yang and Mary Gallagher. "Moving In and Moving Up? Labor Conditions and China's Changing Developing Model", Public Administration and Development 37, no.3 (2017): 160-175 .
For the last decade, a large contingent of manufacturing firms in developmental zones on China’s coast has moved to inland provinces. What are the implications of this move inland for Chinese workers? Research on labor conditions in the current period of economic globalization and mobile capital debates the existence of a “race to the bottom” in labor standards through the pressures of international capital mobility. These theories predict that as inland China develops and attracts a larger amount of foreign and domestic capital, inland governments will compete by offering cheap labor and lower or unenforced standards. Our argument in this paper is contrarian in that we propose the possibility of a positive relationship between the movement inland and labor conditions. We argue that the movement of manufacturing to inland China is not primarily about cheaper workers, but instead signals the beginning of a fundamental shift in the development model through the employment of a localized workforce. Having more workers from within the province, local governments in inland provinces will be more inclined to develop inclusive social policies and improve labor conditions. Local governments in coastal provinces that inherit fundamentally different demographic structures are less likely to pursue this governance style. We use audit data from Apple corporation suppliers (2007–2013), supplementary survey data, and in-depth interviews to discuss the relationship between localized production and better labor conditions.
Mary Gallagher and Yujeong Yang. "Getting Schooled: Legal Mobilization as an Educative Process" , Law and Social Inquiry 42, no.1 (2017): 163-194.
This article explores the role of formal education and specific legal knowledge in the process of legal mobilization. Using survey data and in-depth case narratives of workplace disputes in China, we highlight three major findings. First, and uncontroversially, higher levels of formal education are associated with greater propensity to use legal institutions and to find them more effective. Second, informally acquired labor law knowledge can substitute for formal education in bringing people to the legal system and improving their legal experiences. The Chinese state's propagation of legal knowledge has had positive effects on citizens' legal mobilization. Finally, while education and legal knowledge are factors that push people toward the legal system, actual dispute experience leads people away from it, especially among disputants without effective legal representation. The article concludes that the Chinese state's encouragement of individualized legal mobilization produces contradictory outcomes—encouraging citizens to use formal legal institutions, imbuing them with new knowledge and rights awareness, but also breeding disdain for the law in practice.
Qingjie Zeng and Yujeong Yang. "Informal Networks as Safety Nets: The Role of Personal Ties in China’s Anti-corruption Campaign", China: An International Journal 15, no.3 (2017): 26-57.
The new Chinese leadership that assumed power in late 2012 has launched an anticorruption campaign that is distinctive in its sheer magnitude. The dazzling number of high-level officials struck down by the CCP’s disciplinary body provides a unique opportunity to revisit a much speculated question in China studies: how do the dynamics of informal network affect the Party’s disciplinary punishment of senior cadres? This paper takes a first step to address this question with systematic evidence. We point out that the threat of rectification campaign hanging over the head of the bureaucratic system induces officials to attach themselves to powerful patrons, whose protection offers pivotal career security for lower-level clients. Based on a sample of over 500 provincial officials who were in office when the current campaign started, we show that officials tied to incumbent members of the Politburo Standing Committee are less likely to be investigated for corruption than those without such ties. At the same time, factional ties with retired members of the same body do not provide similar protection. Our analysis helps explain the pervasiveness of personal dependence and factional activities in China’s political system; it also sheds light on the complex interaction of informal rules and formal institutions in authoritarian regimes.
Chapter in an Edited Book.
"Understanding Informality in China: How Existing Welfare State Regime Affects the Measurement of Informality?" (with Wei-Ting Yen), In Political Economy of Informality in BRIC countries, edited by Edward Mansfield and Nita Rudra, World Scientific Publishing (forthcoming 2018).
Work in progress.