Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.


Walter Hatch

Second Advisor

Lindsay Mayka


With GDP growth for the 2016 fiscal year reported at 6.7%, it appears that the Chinese economy has departed from the three-decade period in which GDP growth averaged plus-10%. While both academic journals and media outlets have accredited this slowdown to a variety of factors, existing research has failed to conflate the economic and political factors into a comprehensive explanation. Consequently, this thesis examines the causative factors behind the slowing of the Chinese economy though the analysis of three contesting plausibility probes centered on the impact of corruption, statism, and structural economic change. The results of the plausibility probes indicates that while all of the hypotheses have had an impact on the slowing of the economy, the inability of the party-state to adapt its mode of economic growth in response the demographic changes that the Chinese population has incurred over the past three decades has had the largest demonstrable impact on the slowing of GDP growth.


China, political economy, transition economics, economic growth, path dependence