Book Project: Retrofitting Leninism:
Participation without Democracy in Modern China

Under Contract with Oxford University Press

This book explores the interface between public opinion and authoritarian resilience through the lens of participatory governance in China. The book makes three key points. First, public participation is a prerequisite for effective and legitimate administration, irrespective of how a regime is constituted. Second, a regime’s ability to solicit, process, and recast public input into policy outputs is central to its political durability. Third, technological advances in communication make it easier for authoritarian regimes, particularly those with Leninist foundations, to correspond with the public. This new capacity undercuts prospects for genuine democratic progress.

Using archival data, media reports and a series of original opinion polls, I show how public inputs are incorporated into marketing and implementing top-down policy outputs. To unpack the interface between inputs and outputs, I focus on proposal-making and government responsiveness in local Chinese legislatures. Finally, to evaluate downstream impact, I estimate the effect of open policymaking on sub-national regulation and government approval. The findings suggest that public engagement contributes to both policy stability and positive perceptions of policy. Taken together, the findings also highlight the crucial, yet far from certain, role of voluntary participation by Chinese citizens in facilitating regime maintenance.

Read the Introduction Chapter.



Malesky, E., J. Stromseth, and D. Gueorguiev. 2017. China’s Governance Puzzle: Enabling Transparency and Participation in a Single-Party State, Cambridge Univ. Press.

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

Steinberg, D., D. McDowell and D. Gueorguiev. “Inside Looking Out: How International Policy Trends Shape the Politics of Capital Controls in China.” Pacific Affairs. Forthcoming. 

Gueorguiev, D., and P. Schuler. 2020. “Collective Charisma: Elite-Mass Relations in China” Problems of Post-Communism.

Sinpeng, A. , Gueorguiev, D., and A. Arugay. 2020. “Strong Fans, Weak Campaign: Social Media and Duterte in the 2016 Presidential ElectionJournal of East Asian Studies. Forthcoming.

Steinberg, D., D. McDowell, D. Gueorguiev. 2020. “The Impact of Economic Coercion on Public Opinion: The Case of US-China Currency RelationsJournal of Conflict Resolution.

Gueorguiev, D. and E. Malesky. 2019. “Consultation and Selective Censorship in China”.  Journal of Politics. 81(4), 1539-1545. 

Gueorguiev, D., K. Ostwald, and P. Schuler. 2019. “Rematch: Islamic Politics, Mobilization,
and the Indonesian Presidential Election” Political Science. DOI: 10.1080/00323187.2019.1584733

Gueorguiev, D. 2018. The Dictators Shadow: Chinese Elite Politics Under Xi Jinping. China Perspectives. No. 1, 17-26. (pdf)

Ostwald, K., E. Ong, and D. Gueorguiev. 2017. “Language politics, education, and ethnic integration: the pluralist dilemma in Singapore”, Politics, Groups, and Identities.

Gueorguiev, D and P. Schuler. 2016 “Keeping Your Head Down: Public Profiles and Promotion in One-Party Regimes”, Journal of East Asian Studies. 16(1), 87-116.

Malesky, E., D. Gueorguiev, and N. Jensen. 2015. “Monopoly Money: Foreign Investment and Bribery in Vietnam American Journal of Political Science. 59(2), 419-439.

Gueorguiev, D. and Edmund Malesky. 2011. “Foreign investment and bribery: A firm-level analysis of corruption in Vietnam.” Journal of Asian Economics. 23(2), pp. 111-129.

Peer-Reviewed Chapters: 

Gueorguiev, D. “Beyond Peaceful Evolution: Chinese Domestic Politics and U.S. Foreign Policy” in United States Relations with China and Iran: Towards the Asian Century (ed) Osamah F. Khalil: Bloomsbury Academic Press

Gueorguiev, D. and M. Lovely. 2016 “The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Perspectives from China”, in The World Trade System, (eds) Jagdish Bagwatti & Pravin Krishna. The MIT Press.

Book Reviews: 

Gueorguiev, D. 2015 “Review of: Rising Inequality in China: Challenges to a Harmonious Society” (eds) Shi Li, Hiroshi Sato, Terry Sicular. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2013. Pacific Affairs. 88: 2, pp. 283-285

Under Review:

Gueorguiev, D. and Elvin Ong. “Boundary Markers: Institutionalizing Self-Censorship in Controlled Information Environments”

Gueorguiev, D., S. Li, and C. Crabtree. “Blurred Lines: Uncertainty and Self-Censorship in China”

Gueorguiev, D. “In Public or in Private: Repressing Dissidents in China.”

Gueorguiev, D. “Network Supervision: Public Participation and Anti-Corruption in China.”

Oliver, S. and D. Gueorguiev. “Cooptation with Asymmetric Information: Heterogeneous Coalitions in China’s People’s Congresses.”

Working Projects:

Gueorguiev, D. and S. Chu “We Asked You: Public Opinion and Consultation in China.” Presented at American Political Science Assoc, September 2016.

Schuler, P., D. Gueorguiev and F. Cantu. “Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis: A Medium-N Endogeneity Test on the Impact of Elections on Autocratic Regime Failure.” Presented at American Political Science Assoc, September 2016.

Gueorguiev, D. and D. Tiwari. “Testing the anti-Incumbency Hypothesis in India: A Natural Experiment,” Presented at Southern Political Science Assoc, January 2016.

Gueorguiev D. and S. Li. “Crisis of Confidence: Measuring trust with experiments in China,” Presented at Southern Political Science Assoc, January 2016.

Gueorguiev D. and J. Fernando. “Fish out of water: China’s Economic Diplomacy in Sri Lanka,” Presented at South Asia Center Syracuse Univ., November 2015.

Gueorguiev D., K. Ostwald and P. Schuler. “Minorities in a Majority Muslim State: Examining Indonesia’s 2014 Presidential election,” Presented at American Political Science Assoc, September 2015.

Gueorguiev D. “Local Budgets, National Stakes: Public Participation under Autocracy,” Presented at American Political Science Assoc, August 2014.

Gueorguiev D. “Yellow on Red: Public Consultation in China,” empirical dissertation chapter in progress for journal submission. Presented at Duke Univ., New Faces in China Conference, May 2013.

Gueorguiev D. and S. Oliver “Party Leadership in China’s Local People’s Congresses: Capacity vs. Autonomy Revisited,” Presented at Midwest Political Science Assoc, Chicago, April 2013.