In modern western societies, and most other economies to which it has spread, territorial economic competition is associated with a combination of competitive electoral politics and private land-ownership. In mainland China, however, a very strong form of this competition has emerged without either of these supports. In general, the development of such local collective action and its particular effects reflect an interaction between materially interested local agents and structural pressures. The difference in China is that these agents are principally local government leaders whose career prospects within a still centralized system depend upon performance in terms of economic criteria set from abov
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