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Victor Shih

Professor of Political Science; Director, 21st Century China Center; Ho Miu Lam Chair in China and Pacific Relations

Victor Shih is an expert on the politics of Chinese banking policies, fiscal policies, and exchange rate, as well as the elite politics of China. He is the author of two books published by the Cambridge University Press, "Factions and Finance in China: Elite Conflict and Inflation" and "Coalitions of the Weak: Elite Politics in China from Mao’s Stratagem to the Rise of Xi."  He is also editor of "Economic Shocks and Authoritarian Stability: Duration, Institutions and Financial Conditions," published by the University of Michigan Press. Shih also has published widely in a number of journals, including The American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Politics, The China Quarterly, and Party Politics.

Shih is a professor of political science, director of the 21st Century China Center, and the Ho Miu Lam Chair in China and Pacific Relations. He is currently engaged in a study of the activities of the Chinese elite and of Chinese defense firms around the world. He is also maintaining a large database on biographical information of elites in China.

At GPS, Shih teaches courses including Financing the Chinese Miracle, Chinese Sources and Methods, Chinese Politics and Political Economy of Authoritarian Regimes.  

Prior to joining UC San Diego, Shih was a professor of political science at Northwestern University and former principal for The Carlyle Group.

Education and CV

Ph.D., Government, Harvard University, 2003
B.A., East Asian Studies, George Washington University, 1997

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Shih, V. C. (2022). Coalitions of the weak : elite politics in China from Mao's stratagem to the rise of Xi. Cambridge University Press.

Shih, V. C. (eds).  2020. Economic Shocks and Authoritarian Stability. University of Michigan Press. Ann arbor, MI.

Shih, V. C. 2008. Factions and Finance in China: Elite Conflict and Inflation. Cambridge University Press, 2008. 

Recent Refereed Papers

Zhang, Luke, Zhang, Dong, Liu M.X. & Shih, V. 2021. “Elite Cleavage and the Rise of Capitalism under Authoritarianism: A Tale of Two Provinces in China.Journal of Politics. 83(3).

Zhang, Dong, Liu M.X. & Shih, V. 2022. “Revolution, State Building, and the Great Famine in China.” Political Research Quarterly, DOI: 10659129221120384.

Chester, Patrick J. & Shih, V. C. 2023. Vaccine Nationalism: How China's State Media Misinform about Western Vaccines and Highlight the Successes of Chinese Vaccines to Different Audiences. Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. 

Recent Chapters in Edited Volumes

Shih, V. C. 2021. “Constructing a Chinese AI Global Supply Chain in the Shadow of “Great Power Competition.” in Etel Solingen (eds.). Geopolitics, Supply Chains, and International Relations in East Asia. Cambridge University Press.

Shih, V. C. 2022. “Who Gets into the Chinese Communist Party, and Who Rises up the Ranks?” in Jennifer Rudolph, Carrai, Maria A.  & Michael Szonyi (eds.) The China Questions 2. Harvard University Press.

Shih, V. C. 2021. “China’s Leninist Response to Covid-19”. In Scott Greer, Elizabeth King, Elize Massard da Fonseca & Andre Peralta-Santos (eds.) Coronavirus Politics. University of Michigan Press. 

Shih, V. C.  2022. “Beyond the 20th Party Congress: Elite Autonomy in the Politburo Standing Committee Under Two Scenarios.” in Harris Doshay (eds.) The Party Remakes China: What to Watch for After the 20th Party Congress. La Jolla, CA: 21st Century China Center.

Shih, V. C. 2022. “Age, Factions and Specialisation in the Path to the New Leadership at the 20th Party Congress”. In F. N. Pieke & B. Hofman (Eds.), CPC Futures: The New Era of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. National University of Singapore Press.

Recent Policy Reports

Shih, V. 2022. “How China Would Like to Reshape International Economic Institutions.” In The Bretton Woods 2.0 Project. Washington, DC: The Atlantic Council.

Data Portal

Elite Data Portal: 15th to 19th Party Congress. With Young Yang. (

Working Papers

“How Bureaucratic Incentives Shape Repression in China”. With Erin Baggott Carter & Jonghyuk Lee.

“Compensation and the Consolidation of Authoritarian Power: Evidence from China’s 2016 PLA Reform” with Hans Tung & Keng-chi Chang