Homeowner associations and community governance structure in urban China: a politico-economic reinterpretation

Jen fang Ting, Shanwen Guo, Lingxin Liao

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Chinese homeowner associations (HAs) actions to protect rights have attracted scholarly attention due to beliefs that a new type of local governance or public sphere was being created from bottom-up representation in recent years. However, the current literature studies the impact of actions to protect the rights of HAs on community governance from different angles, but none have tried to analyze some structural factors that might have conditioned these. In general, they are descriptive or prescriptive, behavior-oriented, model-bounded, and case-specific. As a result, they are short of predictability or generalizability. This essay examines the external and internal structural factors for actions to protect rights and combines them as a politico-economic reinterpretation with a focus on the internal governance structure. It argues, the external environment of actions to protect the rights of HAs exhibits a ‘political opportunity structure’, which has fueled the uprising of a rights-protecting movement. Meanwhile, the internal structure shows that the nature of an ‘incomplete contract’ for property transfer between developers and homeowners is a condition of the development of community governance and its performance. When combined together, this internal-external nexus leads to different explanations and to some possible solutions to improve governance for commercial housing communities in urban China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-476
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Chinese Governance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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