LogoBook Project: Retrofitting Communism: Participation without democracy in a wired China

This book explores the potential for participatory governance under autocracy, whereby citizens are actively incorporated into matters of policy and oversight but systematically excluded from politics. Theoretically, I argue that participatory governance fills key gaps in the authoritarian governance model by generating bottom-up input which helps leaders overcome agency loss, bounded rationality, and legitimacy gaps. Empirically, I show how the Chinese Communist Party has spearheaded non-democratic tools for public participation alongside evidence that the strategy is effective at improving governance.

The book can be summarized into three main takeaways. First, incorporating society into governance is a prerequisite for regime stability, irrespective of how that regime is constituted. Second, autocrats are capable of retrofitting popular inclusion into authoritarian foundations without succumbing to the forces of democratization. Third, technological advances in communication are making it easier for autocrats to connect with society, thereby undermining the prospects for genuine democratic progress.




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:

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

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. 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 E. Malesky. Consultation and Criticism: Revisiting Selective 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.”

Ostwald, K, E. Ong and D. Gueorguiev. “Vernacular Education, Segregated Classrooms, and Ethnic Diversity.”

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.