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Univ.Prof. Dr. Christian Göbel, M.A.

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In February 2013, I joined the Institute of East Asian Studies as Professor of Chinese Politics. My current research is concerned with the political economy of innovation in authoritarian regimes. More specifically, I am interested in the relationship between technological innovation, policy innovation and regime stability in East Asia. Being a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese, I conduct first-hand qualitative and quantitative research mainly on China and Taiwan.

My other areas of interest include China’s central-local relations and public finance, and the comparative study of corruption. I currently pursue two research projects. One examines the determinants of successful policy innovation in rural China, the other is concerned with the impact of information and communication technology on China’s local governance.

I obtained an M.A. in Political Science and Modern China Studies at Heidelberg University, completed my PhD in Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, and served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for East- and South East Asian Studies, Lund University.

Research:

Most of my published research examines the dynamics of central-local relations in China. In 2010, I published a monograph that sheds light on how the central government and local administrations interacted in formulating and implementing a major policy that targeted rural public finance, local government administration and the provision of public services in China’s villages. A second monograph, co-authored with Thomas Heberer, also analyses the interaction of formal and informal processes in grassroots government reforms, but at the urban neighborhood level. In this publication, the focus is on the central government’s attempt to create urban communities in a top-down fashion.

Since the conclusion of these two projects, my research has taken a more comparative angle. Inspired by my previous studies on Taiwan’s democratization and democratic consolidation, I formulated a conceptual framework for the study of authoritarian regime consolidation, which yielded several publications and working papers. Thereafter, I teamed up with several former colleagues at the Centre for East- and South East Asian Studies to form the cross-disciplinary China Innovation Group, which examines the Chinese government’s innovation policies from different disciplinary angles. The rich exchange within this group kindled my interest in the relationship between innovation and authoritarian consolidation, which I pursue, among others, in the context of two research projects that are supported by the Swedish Research Council.

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