讲座：How (not) to Solve the Guardianship Dilemma: Institutional Counterbalancing and the Consequences of Military Control in Medieval China 发布时间：2023-06-07
题 目：How (not) to Solve the Guardianship Dilemma: Institutional Counterbalancing and the Consequences of Military Control in Medieval China
What happens when a dictator tries to resolve the guardianship dilemma? We provide the first systematic, micro-level evidence on the implications of this dilemma, by investigating a counterbalancing strategy widely employed for military control – creating differing scopes of command that lead to fragmentation of authority within the military. We study a later part of the Tang Dynasty (769 - 877 CE), where powerful military generals ruled provinces across China with locally-raised armies. To strengthen civilian control of the military, the imperial government enacted a reform that institutionally weakened the generals’ authority over the local armies. From various archival and archaeological sources, we digitize and geocode information on local armies, military rebellions and mutinies, and civilian uprisings. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we document that this reform reduced the generals’ rebellions to the regime. Meanwhile, it reduced the generals’ ability to enforce order, both within the military and with respect to the local society. It led to an increase in soldier-led mutinies against generals, and an increase in the incidence of peasant uprisings against the regime. These findings highlight the sharp trade-offs associated with institutionally counterbalancing the military.
Joy Chen is an assistant professor of economics at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. Her main fields of research are economic history, political economy and institutions. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2019.