Comparative studies find that abundant natural resources such as minerals and oil tend to generate various adverse effects on the economy and the society. This research project examines how resource endowment affects local governance and development in China. Based on case studies of multiple mining areas and longitudinal and cross-regional statistical analyses on Chinese localities, I argue that the existence of rich mineral resources profoundly shapes the triangular relationship between the capital, the labor and the state. While the resource economy generates unbalanced impacts on mining industries and citizens in surrounding areas, it also affects local state-business and state-society relations. The findings contribute to the existing debate on the resource curse by highlighting the state, local state in particular, as a crucial intermediate variable between resources and development.
Dr. Jing Vivian Zhan is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She received her BA in English and International Studies from Foreign Affairs College of China, and her MA and PhD in political science from University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests span comparative political economy, contemporary Chinese politics, and research methodology, with a focus on post-Mao reforms, intergovernmental relations and local governance. She is currently conducting research on the resource curse in China and the Chinese state’s response to it. Her scholarly articles have been published in journals including the China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, Environmental & Resource Economics, and Crime, Law & Social Change.