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01-03-2011 | Issue 1/2011

Studies in Comparative International Development 1/2011

Middlemen in the Chinese Welfare State: The Role of Philanthropists in Refugee Relief in Wartime Shanghai

Journal:
Studies in Comparative International Development > Issue 1/2011
Author:
Nara Dillon

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of different models of public/private partnerships for refugee relief. Through case studies of different refugee relief programs in China, the paper shows that philanthropists are attractive but risky partners for state officials in welfare provision. Their cooperation can indeed expand access to welfare, improve state capacity, and enhance state/society relations. But because philanthropists can control significant resources and gain considerable social prestige, weak states can find it very difficult to control and contain them. In some circumstances, the relationship can turn competitive, and philanthropists can even threaten the state’s efforts to expand its capacity and build up its own legitimacy. The key to the balance of power between state officials and private philanthropists is control over the funding for the partnership.

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