Most studies on China’s state capacity treat the capacity of the central state to control its local agents as a key issue. Especially in an enormous country like China, local governments are without doubt an important extension of the central state to achieve its aims, be it in tax extraction or policy implementation. However, it would be misleading to restrict the treatment of the central government to its role as designer of institutions constraining local officials’ behavior. This talk takes China’s policies of urbanization and village concentration in the countryside as a case for emphasizing alternative governance tools at the central government’s disposal to influence local policy implementation. It particularly focuses on image changes, institutional changes in neighboring policy subfields and the diversification of local implementation agents.
Central state interference in the implementation of rural urbanization policies became necessary when local governments converted rural urbanization policies to gain easy access to rural land for urban development. This resulted in increasing rural tension over village demolition and relocation. The surprising finding of this research is that the central government does not constrain local cadre behavior much, but chooses to steer and thereby ease the continuation of the implementation process.
Jul 09, 2018 - Jul 16, 2018
Room K.18 (basement)
Graduate School of East Asian Studies