Podcast: Jennifer Pan, "Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for Its Rulers"

Development economists have been doing intensive research in recent years on conditional cash transfer programs as a tool to help get people out of poverty. Meanwhile, in the US there has been a lot of talk about Universal Basic Income as a remedy for inequality and social dislocations. On paper, China’s Minimum Livelihood Guarantee, or Dibao, sounds a lot like Universal Basic Income. Jennifer Pan shows that this tool of poverty alleviation has instead been turned into a tool of surveillance and oppression. Ultimately, this focus on “stability” may backfire.