Local Governance Innovation in China : Experimentation, Diffusion, and Defiance book cover
1st Edition

Local Governance Innovation in China
Experimentation, Diffusion, and Defiance

ISBN 9780415747851
Published November 6, 2014 by Routledge
204 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Despite a centralized formal structure, Chinese politics and policy-making have long been marked by substantial degrees of regional and local variation and experimentation. These trends have, if anything, intensified as China’s reform matures. Though often remarked upon, the politicsof policy formation, diffusion, and implementation at the subnational level have not previously been comprehensively described, let alone satisfactorily explained.

Based on extensive fieldwork, this book explores how policies diffuse across China today, the mechanisms through which local governments actually arrive at specific solutions, and the implications for China’s political development and stability in the years ahead. The chapters examine how local-level institutions solve governance challenges, such as rural development, enterprise reform, and social service provision. Focusing on diverse policy areas that include land use, state-owned enterprise reform, and house churches, the contributors all address the same overarching question: how do local policymakers innovate in each issue area to address a governance challenges and how, if at all, do these innovations diffuse into national politics.

As a study of local governance in China today, this book will appeal to both students and scholars of Chinese politics, comparative politics, governance and development studies, and also to policy-makers interested in authoritarianism and governance.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Politics and Patterns of Policy Diffusion in China 1. Diffusion of Policy Defiance among Chinese Local Officials 2. Grassroots Reactions to Relocation: the Diffusion of Compensation Strategies 3. Flying Land: Intergovernmental Cooperation in Local Economic Development in China 4. Policy Diffusion in Corporate Restructuring: Case Studies of Local Government Interventions 5. Grasping the Large and Releasing the Small: a Bottom-Up Perspective on Reform in a County-Level Enterprise 6. China’s Grassroots NGOs and the Local State: Catalysts for Policy Entrepreneurship 7. Public Security Bureaus’ Containment Strategy toward Protestant House Churches 8. Election Reform from the Middle and at the Margins 9. Conclusion: Compliance, Resistance, Innovation and Involution: Assessing the Mechanisms of Policy Diffusion

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Jessica C. Teets is Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Middlebury College, USA.

William Hurst is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, USA.


"This edited volume makes a significant contribution to a burgeoning literature on sub-national policy experimentation and diffusion in China. Bringing together nine rich and varied case studies, the volume sets out to more systematically theorize the pathways and processes of local policy innovation and diffusion, important for their potential to effect large-scale change." - Stephen Trott, Pacific Affairs: Volume 89, No. 3 – September 2016

"The book provides an insightful theoretical framework for explaining and understanding the politics of policy formulation and implementation at the subnational level in China." -  Dr. Lisheng Dong, University of Glasgow, Journal of Chinese Political Science (JCPS)