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Going Out or Opting Out? Capital, Political Vulnerability, and the State in China's Outward Investment

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How do state-business relations interact with outward investment in authoritarian regimes? This article focuses on the importance of domestic political status and specifically business' vulnerability to the state in explaining the dynamics of China's outward investments. I present three types of domestic capital whose economic and political logics differ as they go abroad: tactical capital pursues political power and prestige, competitive capital pursues commercial goals, and crony capital seeks refuge from the state and asset expatriation. The Chinese regime's approach to outward investment, which I characterize as mobilization campaigns adjusted over time and combined with targeted domestic regulation, endeavors to treat these different kinds of capital differently, deploying and disciplining tactical capital, enabling competitive capital, and constraining crony capital.

Keywords: CHINA; CORRUPTION; FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT; POLITICAL ECONOMY; STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2022

This article was made available online on July 16, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "Going Out or Opting Out? Capital, Political Vulnerability, and the State in China’s Outward Investment".

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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