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China's Governance Puzzle
Enabling Transparency and Participation in a Single-Party State

$29.00 USD

  • Date Published: March 2017
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108216012

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About the Authors
  • China is widely viewed as a global powerhouse that has achieved a remarkable economic transformation with little political change. Less well known is that China's leaders have also implemented far‐reaching governance reforms designed to promote government transparency and increase public participation in official policymaking. What are the motivations behind these reforms and, more importantly, what impact are they having? This puzzle lies at the heart of Chinese politics and could dictate China's political trajectory for years to come. This extensive collaborative study not only documents the origins and scope of these reforms across China, but offers the first systematic assessment by quantitatively and qualitatively analyzing the impact of participation and transparency on important governance outcomes. Comparing across provinces and over time, the authors argue that the reforms are resulting in lower corruption and enhanced legal compliance, but these outcomes also depend on a broader societal ecosystem that includes an active media and robust civil society.

    • Offers a detailed study of governance reform in a single-party state, shedding new light on authoritarian institutions
    • Brings together a team of experts from both in and outside China to offer new information and place Chinese governance in a comparative perspective
    • Cutting-edge quantitative and qualitative methodology provides a model of integrated research design
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This illuminating volume changes the way you think about the role of information in China. The authors make a powerful case that, even amid tight political control, transparency is altering China's government, with deep implications for the economic and political future.' Evan Osnos, National Book Award-winning author of Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

    'In this thoughtful and well-documented work, the authors challenge conventional wisdom about the absence of political reform in China. Through fascinating case studies, they demonstrate the diversity of reform practices in China and identify areas of success and failure.' J. Stapleton Roy, former US ambassador to China

    'This is a highly rigorous yet very readable study of how authoritarian governance in China works and does not work to achieve policy objectives and maintain domestic stability. The authors bring to bear a rare combination of practical on-the-ground experience and formal academic training to analyze one of the Chinese Communist Party's greatest dilemmas: how to improve governance and bolster state legitimacy by allowing popular opinions to be heard in the policy process without ever hinting that the broad public will or should gain direct control over who governs or how.' Thomas Christensen, Princeton University, New Jersey and author of The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power

    'This book provides excellent empirical strategies to scholars, students and policymakers interested in the successes and failures of Chinese governance reforms and policy innovations. As the authors demonstrate, Chinese policymakers are increasingly adopting better governance practices to stave off political threats. Moreover, these reforms are not just window-dressing; they have changed the way laws are enacted and compliance is at least partly achieved.' Mary E. Gallagher, Director of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan

    'The authors skillfully blend the latest statistics on corruption with illuminating case studies to argue that enlisting the Chinese public to monitor the bureaucracy would yield better results than continuing the current heavy-handed crackdown that targets corrupt individuals one at a time.' Yuen Yuen Ang, Foreign Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2017
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108216012
    • contains: 33 b/w illus. 1 map 14 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. China's approach to governance reform
    2. Concept, chronology, and drivers of transparency reform
    3. Transparency and corruption: analysis of variation within China and hypothesis testing
    4. Comparing approaches to combatting corruption: the Guangdong and Chongqing models
    5. Concept, chronology, and drivers of participation reform
    6. Participation and compliance: analysis of variation and hypothesis testing
    7. Making policy in public: a comparison of three Chinese provinces
    8. The road ahead
    Works cited

  • Resources for

    China's Governance Puzzle

    Jonathan R. Stromseth, Edmund J. Malesky, Dimitar D. Gueorguiev

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  • Authors

    Jonathan R. Stromseth, Brookings Institution, Washington DC
    Jonathan R. Stromseth is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asian Studies. He is affiliated with the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at Brookings and has a joint appointment with the Brookings John L. Thornton China Center. From 2014 to 2017, Stromseth served on the Secretary of State's Policy Planning Staff at the US Department of State, advising the Department's leadership on China, Southeast Asia, and East Asian and Pacific affairs. Previously he was The Asia Foundation's Country Representative to China (2006–2014) and Vietnam (2000–2005), and earned a doctorate in political science from Columbia University. The views expressed in this volume are his own and not necessarily those of the US government.

    Edmund J. Malesky, Duke University, North Carolina
    Edmund J. Malesky is a Professor of Political Economy at Duke University, North Carolina and is a noted specialist in economic development, authoritarian institutions, and comparative political economy in Vietnam and China. In 2012, Malesky received a state medal from the Government of Vietnam for his role in promoting economic development for the United States Agency for International Development's Vietnam Provincial Competitiveness Index and, in 2013, he was appointed by President Obama to serve on the board of the Vietnam Education Foundation. He has published extensively in leading political science and economic journals and has received various awards including the Harvard Academy Fellowship and the Rockefeller Bellagio Residency Fellowship.

    Dimitar D. Gueorguiev, Syracuse University, New York
    Dimitar Gueorguiev is an assistant professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, New York, where he teaches courses on Chinese politics, research methods, and foreign policy. Gueorguiev's work covers a wide range of topics concerning governance and public relations under quasi-democratic institutions. His work is primarily empirical, relying heavily on randomized public opinion surveys and original data on sub-national legislative and judicial activity. Outside of China, Gueorguiev's work focuses on elections, corruption and foreign investment, and has been published in the American Journal of Political Science and the Asian Journal of Economics.


    Lai Hairong, Peking University, Beijing
    Lai Hairong is Director of the China Center for Overseas Social and Philosophical Theories at the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau. He studies political restructuring in China and has published works on Chinese governance in different languages. He has been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Foreign Theoretical Trends (Chinese, monthly) and Executive Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Comparative Economic and Social Systems (Chinese, bi-monthly). Lai also served as Deputy Director of the China Center for Comparative Politics and Economics.

    Wang Xixin, Peking University Law School, Beijing
    Wang Xixin, Professor of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Peking University Law School, Beijing, is one of China's preeminent authorities on administrative law. He has published more than thirty papers in major law journals in both China and the United States and established the Center for Public Participation Studies and Supports at Peking University and later, in collaboration with the Yale Law School's China Law Center, the Open Government Information Watch Alliance. He is a Research Consultant for the National People's Congres (NPC) Standing Committee General Office, and Vice Chairman of the Beijing Administrative Law Society, and was a core contributor to China's draft Administrative Procedure Act.

    Carl Brinton, Harvard Business School
    Carl Brinton is Horace W. Goldsmith Fellow at Harvard Business School, Massachusetts, and his work has focused on evaluating and improving governance and public policy through rigorous testing and scaling of successful programs. Brinton has conducted field and strategy work with local NGOs and sustainable development cooperatives in rural Guizhou Province. Additionally, the results of his randomized controlled trials of development interventions with Stanford University, California and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have been accepted by China's State Council and signed into policy action. He has presented research at international conferences around the world and his writing has been published in international development journals.

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