Corruption and Anti-Corruption Research in China: A Critical Review of Chinese Top Journal Publications (1989–2017)

Na Tang, Zi Ding, Yanni Xu


This article synthesizes a cross-disciplinary literature review of 205 articles from Chinese top journals and presents a comprehensive picture of corruption and anti-corruption research in a non-Western setting. By attempting to describe how corruption negatively affects the public administration and how improved public administration can mitigate corruption, this study finds that the Chinese research is gradually shifting from qualitative analysis to quantitative research but that empirical research needs to be developed further. In addition, in the review, human greed, economic transition, institutional omissions, a weak civil society, and social and cultural traditions are found to be the main causes of corruption in China. The effect of corruption on economic development differs on the basis of the institutional situation and social environment, but the influence of corruption on social stability and public satisfaction with the government is often negative in China. In addition, the anti-corruption mechanism has changed from the campaign against corruption (1950s–1980s) to institutionalized anti-corruption (1990s) and finally to anti-corruption through new media platforms (since the 2000s). Evaluations of anti-corruption effects are still lacking in China, especially in empirical studies. The following three aspects deserve further study: (1) the corruption mechanisms, (2) the impact of the establishment of new state institutions on anti-corruption, and (3) the relationship between political factors and anti-corruption efforts in China.


corruption; anti-corruption; economic development; literature review; China

Full Text:



Zhang, J. (2017). The illusion and the reality of Chinese budget reforms: Does budgeting influence corruption perception? Chinese Public Administration Review, 8(1): 1-22.

Andrew Wedeman. (2012). Double paradox: rapid growth and rising corruption in China, edited by Ithaca, 257. NY: Cornell University Press.

Bentzen, J. S. (2012). How bad is corruption? Cross-country evidence of the impact of corruption on economic prosperity. Review of Development Economics 16(1) : 167-84.

Butler, A. W., L. Fauver and S. Mortal. (2009). Corruption, political connections, and municipal finance. Review of Financial Studies 22(7) : 673-705.

Dong, B., B. Torgler. (2013). Causes of corruption: Evidence from China. China Economic Review 26: 152-69.

Guo Y. (2017). Corruption situation in China after the 18th CPC national congress: Evaluation from three dimensions. Cass Journal of Political Science 2017(3): 2-11.

Mauro, P. (1995). Corruption and growth. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110(3), 681-712.

Gong, T., Wu, M. L. (2012). The research report of Chinese corruption cases from 2000 to 2009: Based on more than 2800 reported Cases Analysis. Sociological Studies, 4, 204-220.

Maria Cucciniello, Gregory A. Porumbescu, Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen. (2017). 25 years of transparency research: Evidence and future directions. Public Administration Review 77(1): 32-44.

Xiao H. Y., Gong T. (2016). Some theoretical issues in corruption studies: a review of 526 SSCI articles from 2009 to 2013. Comparative Economic and Social Systems 2: 48-60.

Gong, T. (2010). Accountability audit and corruption governance. Journal of Public Administration, 14(2), 69-84.

Hu, A. G., & Guo, Y. (2001). Comprehensive strategy and system design of prevention and control of corruption in transition period. Management World, 6, 44-55.

Wang, H. N. (1995). China's institutional choice of suppressing corruption. CASS Journal of Political Science, 1, 7-15.

Cheng, W. H. (2004). Institutional roots of China's corrupt opportunities emerging in the reform era. China Public Administration Review, 2, 87-97.

Yu, K. P. (1991). Discussion on types of political corruption. Comparative Economic & Social Systems, 4, 45-49.

Ma, L. (2014). Information disclosure, accountability and government honesty: An empirical study of Chinese cities. Comparative Economic & Social Systems, 4, 141-154.

Nie, H. H. & Wang, M. Q. (2014). The impact of political cycles on combatting corruption: Evidence from Chinese bureau-level corruption cases during 2003-2013. Comparative Economic & Social Systems, 4, 127-140.

Ni, X. & Sun, Z. F. (2015). Economic development, institutional structure and local anti-corruption efforts: A panel data analysis based on G province. Comparative Economic & Social Systems, 5, 92-103.

Ni, X. & Chen, Z. C. (2011). Problem and direction: literature evaluation of contemporary China's corruption and anti-corruption. Comparative Economic & Social Systems,3,185-194.

Guo, Y. (2016). Six tendencies of corruption and anti-corruption in contemporary China. Chinese Public Administration,1,60-63.

Jiang, L. Y. (2008). The innovation of China's 30 years' anti-corruption theory. CASS Journal of Political Science, 6, 44-51.

Ni, X. (2011). Analysis on the change of China's anti-corruption strategy and its effect. CASS Journal of Political Science, 5, 74-86.

Wang, C. L. (2001). Analysis of corruption frequency in Chinese society from 1900 to 1999. CASS Journal of Political Science, 1, 38-55.

Guo, Y. & Song, W. (2015). Research on the present situation, difficulties and reform of discipline inspection agencies at the county level in China. Comparative Economic & Social Systems, 4, 142-153.

He, Z. K. (2003). Research in the issues of corruption and combating corruption during Chinese transition(a). Comparative Economic & Social Systems, 1, 19-29.

Yang, K. F. (2009). A reflection on China's administrative ethics reforms: morality, law and beyond. Journal of Public Administration,2(3),127-149.

Zhou, L. A., & Tao, J. (2009). Research of size of government, marketization and regional corruption. Economic Research Journal,1,57-69.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the Institute for Public Service at Suffolk University - Boston.