Wilson Center Experts

Bruce Dickson

Asia Program

Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Wilson Center Project(s):
"Integrating Wealth and Power in Contemporary China: The Evolving Influence of ‘Red Capitalists'"
Sep 01, 2006
May 01, 2007

I have been teaching at the George Washington University since 1993, and am currently professor of political science and international affairs. I served as director of graduate studies in the political science department from 2004-2006, and as director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Asian Studies Program from 1998-2001. My research and teaching focus on political dynamics in China and Taiwan, especially the role of political parties in the process of political change. In addition to courses on China, I also teach on democratization and comparative politics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. My current research examines how economic reforms are changing the Chinese Communist Party's control over China's political system, its relations with society, and especially with the emerging private sector; in short, whether economic reforms are rejuvenating the party or weakening its authority. I am the author of Red Capitalists in China: The Party, Private Entrepreneurs, and Prospects for Political Change (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and Democratization in China and Taiwan: The Adaptability of Leninist Parties (Oxford University Press, 1997), articles in Asian Survey, China Quarterly, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Current History, Journal of Contemporary China, Journal of Democracy, and Political Science Quarterly, and co-editor of four other books.


Ph.D. (1994) University of Michigan




  • Professor, George Washington University, 2005 to present
  • Associate Professor, George Washington University, 1999-2005
  • Director, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University, 1998-2001
  • Associate Editor, Problems of Post-Communism, 1995-2006
  • Assistant Professor, George Washington University, 1993-99


Domestic politics in China and Taiwan; democratization

Project Summary

This project will examine the relationship between the Communist Party and the private sector in China, both the institutional links between business and the state and the growing number of "red capitalists," entrepreneurs who are also party members. Drawing on original survey data, this project will show how the integration of political and economic elites is creating a convergence of policy views among local officials and private entrepreneurs. In addition, it will show how the rapid growth of the private sector, the increased prominence of entrepreneurs in the political system, and the formation of more autonomous and politically active business associations are affecting the relationship between the party and private sector, and ultimately the prospects for political change.

Major Publications

  • Red Capitalists in China: The Party, Private Entrepreneurs, and Prospects for Political Change (New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 2003)
  • "Cooptation and Corporatism in China: The Logic of Party Adaptation," Political Science Quarterly, vol. 115, no. 4 (Winter 2000-2001), pp. 517-540
  • Democratization in China and Taiwan: The Adaptability of Leninist Parties (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997)

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