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March 31, 2023

Mobilized Compliance: When Do Political Parties Facilitate Fiscal Extraction during Wartime?

Event Series: Chinese Politics and Economy Research Seminar Series

grain fields

Weak bureaucratic capacity impedes the ability of a state to increase its fiscal capacity, particularly when faced a fiscal demand shock during wartime. In this talk, Xiaobo Lv of the University of Texas at Austin will share his research, which argues that one remedy hinges on the existence of political parties with grassroots infrastructure for mass mobilization that facilitates fiscal extraction during war. Specifically, he examines the contrasting experiences of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang (KMT) during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). He demonstrates how the CCP's reliance on its grassroots organization enabled successful mobilization of both the assessment and compliance of grain levies, a form of direct taxation in rural China. In contrast, the KMT's weak party mobilization capacity led to the delegation of grain extraction to local elites, resulting in ineffective grain extraction and creating widespread resentment due to the unfair distribution of the tax burden.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Department of Government and the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University.


Xiaobo Lv is an associate professor in the Department of Government at the University of Texas at Austin. His research centers on distributive politics of fiscal policies in authoritarian regimes, with a focus on China. He is currently working on several paper projects that focus on the relationship between fiscal extraction and state-society relations, as well as a book project on party building by the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang between 1921 and 1945.