Can meaningful representation emerge in an authoritarian setting?
If so, how, when, and why? Making Autocracy Work identifies the trade-offs associated with representation in authoritarian environments and then tests the theory through a detailed inquiry into the dynamics of China's National People's Congress (NPC, the country's highest formal government institution).
Rory Truex argues that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is engineering a system of 'representation within bounds' in the NPC, encouraging deputies to reflect the needs of their constituents, but only for non-sensitive issues. This allows the regime to address citizen grievances while avoiding incendiary political activism. Data on NPC deputy backgrounds and behaviors is used to explore the nature of representation and incentives in this constrained system. The book challenges existing conceptions of representation, authoritarianism, and the future of the Chinese state. Consultative institutions like the NPC are key to making autocracy work.