Do Weberian Bureaucracies Lead to Markets or Vice Versa?

Saturday, June 25, 2016: 4:15 PM-5:45 PM
126 Barrows (Barrows Hall)
Yuen Yuen Ang, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
How do professional regulatory agencies emerge? Do Weberian bureaucracies lead to capitalist markets or is it market expansion that enables the creation of these bureaucracies? Departing from standard linear approaches to development, I argue that markets and bureaucratic forms necessarily interact and coevolve. By mapping the coevolution of investment regulatory practices and state-led growth in a Chinese city over twenty years, my analysis reveals a multi-stage causal path. Early growth was stimulated by regulatory practices that were partial and violated formal rules, actions that would normally be perceived as corrupt. However, at an advanced growth stage, when quality is prioritized over quantity growth, markets are complemented by impartial and routinized regulatory enforcement. My analysis calls into the question assumptions about universal standards of “good” or “effective” regulation—it argues, instead, that the type of regulatory practices that support markets actually depends on the objectives of development, resources available, and constraints faced.