• Sarah Maria Weiler
With this thesis, I seek to advance debates on the question of what constitutes “good scholarship”. I do so by investigating how a specific set of social scientists – proponents of the theory of Public Choice – have responded to the unexpected evidence from China’s recent economic history. Through a qualitative reading of relevant academic publications, I explore the different means by which Public Choice scholars reconcile China’s developmental advances with their theory’s skepticism vis-à-vis a large and regulatorily powerful state. I come up with a classification of five response strategies: (1) ignoring the challenging evidence; (2) denying implicitly that there is a challenge by refusing to reconsider Public Choice’s core assumptions and claims about the effects of a powerful state on economic growth; (3) denying explicitly that there is a challenge by re-interpreting the evidence from China’s recent history and de-emphasizing the role of the state in the country; and adapting their theoretical framework through (4) a modification of its assumptions or (5) the addition of new variables, both of which is done to enable the theory to account for the developmental success in state-dominated economies under certain conditions. I close the thesis with a discussion of the investigation’s limitations, and with a critical normative assessment of the Public Choice researchers and their treatment of challenging evidence.
SpecialisationChina and International Relations
Publication date24 May 2022
ID: 471231855