1st Edition

Governance and Public Administration in China

Edited By Toby S. James, Wei Liu, Caixia Man Copyright 2023
    254 Pages
    by Routledge

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    China has traditionally been held up around the world as the archetype of centralised governance and a top-down system of public administration. But to what extent does this remain true of modern China? This book provides an updated perspective on modern China through a series of cutting edge, original studies focusing on public administration in China.

    The book opens with an overview of the key political institutions and the evolution of public administration research in China, followed by two distinct sections. Part I contains studies focusing on power, governance, and administration. Part II focuses on ‘what works’ in solving wicked problems in Chinese society. The volume shows that China has seen some localisation and decentralisation, alongside experiments with collaboration and networked-based policy making. However, the system of governance and public administration remains innately top-down and centralised with the centre holding strong policy levers and control over society. As the pandemic revealed, this statist approach provided both governing opportunities and disadvantages.

    The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Policy Studies.

    Introduction: Governance and public administration in China: the evolution of a polity and a discipline

    Wei Liu, Toby S. James, and Caixia Man

    Part 1: Power, governance and public administration

    1. Networked environmental governance: formal and informal collaborative networks in local China

    Chen Huang, Hongtao Yi, Tao Chen, Xiaolin Xu, and Shiying Chen

    2. More "Government", less "Governance": Chinese public employees’ preferences for governing public service delivery

    Yanwei Li and Shi Qiu

    3. Policy coordination in the talent war to achieve economic upgrading: the case of four Chinese cities

    Yang Shen and Bingqin Li

    4. Government strategies in addressing three protests against PX plants in urban China: comparing cases using a most-similar-system design

    Yanwei Li, Yi Liu, and Joop Koppenjan

    5. Government annual report: decision usefulness, information accessibility and policy communication efficiency – Observations from 19 Chinese cities

    Jun Yang and Xue Zheng

    6. Punctuations and diversity: exploring dynamics of attention allocation in China’s E-government agenda

    Qingguo Meng and Ziteng Fan

    Part 2: What works with wicked problems

    7. Government size and citizen satisfaction in China: evidence that accommodates two contrasting views

    Longjin Chen and Liangsong Yang

    8. Towards effective mobilization of social participation: from an instrumental approach to a value-oriented approach in China

    Yongjiao Yang, Yan Xu, and Mick Wilkinson

    9. The relationship between the application and effects of science and its influencing factors: an empirical study in northern China

    Lihua Yang

    10. Explaining social insurance participation: the importance of the social construction of target groups in China

    Yeqing Huang and Shurong Han

    11. Campaign-style crisis regime: how China responded to the shock of COVID-19

    Changkun Cai, Weiqi Jiang, and Na Tang


    Toby S. James is Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is Editor-in-Chief of Policy Studies and Co-Director of the Electoral Integrity Project. His most recent books are The Trump Administration: The President’s Legacy Within and Beyond America and Electoral Integrity and Covid-19: Lessons from and International Crisis.

    Wei Liu is Associate Professor at the School of Public Administration and Policy at the Renmin University of China, Beijing, China. Her areas of research expertise are local government innovation and diffusion, non-profit management, global governance, and China politics.

    Caixia Man is a PhD candidate at the University of East Anglia, UK, and at the Southern University of Science and Technology, China. Her research focuses on China politics and environmental governance through an interdisciplinary perspective and approach.