Oi, Jean C.

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Oi, Jean C.


Education: Indiana University, B.A.; University of Michigan, Ph.D.


Office—Department of Political Science, Stanford University, 616 Serra St., Stanford, CA 94305-26044. E-mail—[email protected]


Stanford University, Stanford, CA, professor of political science and William Haas Professor of Chinese politics, director of Center for East Asian Studies, 1998-2005; senior fellow at Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; director of China program at Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center.


Crocker Faculty Scholar, Stanford University, 1998-2001; Outstanding Faculty Adviser, Stanford University, 1999; Stanford Cap and Gown Honorary, 2003; Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching, Stanford University, 2004-05; Bass University Fellow in Undergraduate Education, Stanford University, 2005-2010.


State and Peasant in Contemporary China: The Political Economy of Village Government, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1989.

Rural China Takes Off: Institutional Foundations of Economic Reform, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1999.

(Editor, with Andrew G. Walder) Property Rights and Economic Reform in China, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1999.

(Editor, with Nara Dillon) At the Crossroads of Empires: Middlemen, Social Networks and State-building in Republican Shanghai, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2007.

Contributor to professional journals, including World Politics.


Jean C. Oi, a university professor whose work focuses on the political economy of China and corporate restructuring in Asia, is the author of Rural China Takes Off: Institutional Foundations of Economic Reform. In the work, Oi analyzes changes in the institutional environment in rural China during the 1980s and 1990s, focusing particularly on the role of village and township enterprises that helped spur rapid economic development. According to Xueguang Zhou in the American Journal of Sociology, the author contends "that the interaction between changes in institutional rules and responses by local government officials over time led to an important structural change: the local governments came to act like principals rather than agents, gaining autonomy within their jurisdiction. At the same time, as Oi observes, the economic reform also poses new challenges to the local governments and erodes their basis of power." Dali L. Yang, reviewing the work in the American Political Science Review, observed that Oi "argues that it was the institutions inherited from the Maoist era that provided local governments with the political capacity and policy instruments to foster the rapid growth of rural industry…. She believes that this legacy, refitted for the reform era, is the foundation for a distinctive form of state-led growth." Yang concluded, "Oi thus joins most China specialists in pointing out that regime change is not necessary for reform and growth in a Leninist political system." Lucian W. Pye, writing in Foreign Affairs, commented that Rural China Takes Off "stands out for its lucid analysis of the theoretical issues of incentives, property rights, and the differences between public and private ownership and management."

Oi's Property Rights and Economic Reform in China, a collection of ten essays edited with Andrew G. Walder, "is intended to clarify conceptually and factually the pattern of property rights changes in the current Chinese economy," L. Gerald Fielder noted in Perspectives on Political Science. According to Pacific Affairs contributor Paul Bowles, one of the goals of the book "is to replace the confusion about property rights that has characterised much of the literature on Chinese—especially rural—industry with a clear documentation of the evolution and current state of property rights in various regions and sectors. In this, the volume succeeds admirably. In doing so, it is clear that there are many different types of property rights trajectories and arrangements varying substantially across regions and sectors." William L. Parish, writing in the American Journal of Sociology, also praised the work, calling it "a rich, worm's eye account of how property rights emerge from the ground up and of how suboptimal solutions are more efficient than many accounts would allow. Rich details provide ample material for continuing debates about the types of property rights needed for economic growth." Parish concluded: "This collection of case studies belongs among the references of anyone seriously studying the range of property rights solutions that lead to successful economic growth."



American Journal of Sociology, January, 2000, Xueguang Zhou, review of Rural China Takes Off: Institutional Foundations of Economic Reform, p. 1215; July, 2000, William L. Parish, review of Property Rights and Economic Reform in China, p. 277.

American Political Science Review, June, 2000, Dali L. Yang, review of Rural China Takes Off, p. 491.

Foreign Affairs, November-December, 1999, Lucian W. Pye, "Recent Books on International Relations," review of Rural China Takes Off, p. 139.

Pacific Affairs, fall, 2000, Paul Bowles, review of Property Rights and Economic Reform in China, p. 424.

Perspectives on Political Science, summer, 2000, L. Gerald Fielder, review of Property Rights and Economic Reform in China, p. 185.


Stanford University Web site,http://www.stanford.edu/ (March 20, 2007), "Jean C. Oi."