The Increasing Significance of “Guanxi” in Chinese Transitional Economy

The Increasing Significance of "Guanxi" in Chinese Transitional Economy

Yanjie Bian - Professor of Sociology, University of Minnesota

Monday, March 26, 2012 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm
Room 203, Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 6511

How do we understand the increasing significance of guanxi in Chinese transitional economy? I propose a typology in which the transition from redistribution to markets is considered to occur in a two-dimensional space of changing degrees of institutional uncertainty and market competition. Capitalizing on large scale surveys in Chinese cities, we assess the effects of social networks on employment processes and outcomes. We find that 1) the proportion of network users in the acquisition of jobs increased over years; 2) network users are more crowded in the acquisition of competitive jobs than in less competitive jobs; and 3) social networks are more active in sectors of greater institutional uncertainty.

Yanjie Bian is professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota and dean of the School of Humanities and Social Science at Xi’an Jiaotong University, where he also is funding director of the Institute for Empirical Social Science Research. A researcher of China’s social stratification and social networks, he has been a co-PI of the Chinese General Social Survey since 2003.