Conformity, political participation, and economic rewards: The case of Chinese private entrepreneurs

Ying Chen, David Touve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using institutional and resource dependence theories as the conceptual framework, this study identifies three forms of conformity-political, economic, and social-that can affect the level of private entrepreneurs' formal political participation in a transition economy. Data from a 2004 national-wide survey of 3,012 private firms in China show that political conformity (indicated by membership in the ruling party), economic conformity (amount of taxes paid), and social conformity (amount of charity donated) are each antecedents to private entrepreneurs' formal political participation. Moreover, political conformity negatively moderates the relationship between social conformity and private entrepreneurs' formal political participation-for party members, a lesser amount of charity is associated with higher levels of political position as compared to non-party members. We also found that the rewards of formal political participation have institutional boundaries: political participation can indeed bring private entrepreneurs economic rewards such as a greater amount of loans from state banks but not from shareholding and underground banks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)529-553
Number of pages25
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Conformity
  • Corporate political activity (CPA)
  • Political participation
  • Private entrepreneurs
  • Transition economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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