Larus, Elizabeth Freund

Dr. Elizabeth Freund Larus is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia. She has authored several book chapters and academic journal articles on the political economy of China and on China-Taiwan economic relations. She is past President of the Virginia Consortium for Asian Studies.

Economic Reform in China, 1979-2003: The Marketization of Labor and State Enterprises
2005 0-7734-6145-0
This book examines China’s policy of gradualism in reforming its state-owned enterprises (SOEs). It argues that political constraints forced China’s leaders to opt for a go-slow approach, rather than the “shock therapy” approach used by most Eastern European economies in transition. The book’s contribution to the literature on SOE reform is its focus on the impact of reforms on SOE employees. It examines how SOE obligations to provide employment and welfare (housing distribution and allocation, health care, and social security) for employees were reduced in the reform era, sparking worker protests. The book looks at the impact of reforms on workers, and argues that SOE reform will continue, but at a pace determined by labor’s response to the reforms. The book argues that labor’s response to the reforms forced China’s leaders in the late 1990s to resist privatization of large industrial SOEs, and opt instead for marketization and corporatization. The book is based on archival and field research in China and Hong Kong, and uses the Baoshan Iron and Steel Works (Baogang) and the Anshan Iron and Steel Works (Angang) as case studies of industrial SOE reform.