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Although much has been published on China's economic transition, less research has focused on how Chinese culture and the Communist political system have interacted to shape the new Chinese economy. In this paper, we argue that China's post-command economy period reflects not only the 'new' infusion of neo-liberal ideology into the country, but also the consistent filtering of economic practices through a historical and complex institutional arrangement of cultural and political norms. The tensions between neo-classical free market principles and the overarching authority of the Communist state explain the variety of institutional constraints on actual economic practices in China. While the economic reforms initiated a change in the traditional patriarchal society, leading women to further integrate themselves into the labour market, in many cases this has become localised in the informal sectors of the economy. We shed light on this phenomenon by discussing how longstanding paternalist norms have been translated into institutional constraints on economic activity.

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International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education