Melanie Manion is a professor of political science and public affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Prior to her current appointment, she was an associate professor of political science at the University of Rochester. She studied philosophy and political economy at Peking University in the late 1970s, was trained in Far Eastern studies at McGill University and the University of London, and earned her doctorate in political science at the University of Michigan. Her research has focused on institutions, including informal institutions, and institutionalization in Chinese politics. Her publications include work on the Chinese bureaucracy, grassroots democratization, and the political economy of corruption and good governance. Her current research examines the ongoing transformation from descriptive to substantive representation in mainland China. It investigates how newly assertive local congresses navigate their agency relationships with ordinary constituents and the communist party.
She is the recipient of numerous research awards, most recently from the National Science Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, and University of Wisconsin–Madison Graduate School. Publications include Retirement of Revolutionaries in China (Princeton University Press, 1993), Corruption by Design (Harvard University Press, 2004), and articles in the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, and China Quarterly. She organizes the Chinese Politics Workshop and, with her colleague Scott Gehlbach, the Political Economy Colloquium at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is an award-winning teacher.