Decision-making in Chinese local administrative reform : Path dependence, agency and implementation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Journal / PublicationPublic Administration and Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


How do policy makers make up their minds? What goes into their calculations when deciding whether a proposed policy or reform measure should or should not be adopted? This article looks into these important, if mundane, questions by considering the case of recent decisions taken in relation to Chinese township reforms. It argues that, in this case, policy makers were inclined to focus on costs, and neglected the potential benefits of reform due to the past reform trajectory whereby most previous township reforms have failed. Furthermore, policy makers were predisposed to perceive most stakeholders as 'resisters' of change or passive beneficiaries. This article contemplates the possibility of improving decision-making capacity by recognising the agency role of 'reform targets'. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • China, Path dependence, Policy and decision making, Township administrative reform