Institutional Perspectives on China's Urbanization


TypeResearch Seminar
InstructorElena Meyer-Clement
InstitutionGraduate School of East Asian Studies
RoomHittorfstr. 18 K.18

Tuesday, 12 pm - 2 pm

Student Profile

PhD and MA Students

Course Description

In the past decade, Chinese urbanization policy has evolved substantially. The new Chinese leadership under Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang envisages not only an increase of China’s urbanization rate but also the implementation of so-called “new-type urbanization”, which is supposed to correct some of the flaws in previous developments. In particular, urbanization in China has been accompanied by extensive land expropriations by local governments, even to the point of endangering social stability in some regions, environmental pollution and the discrimination of rural migrants in the cities. However, as we know from institutional theories, changing the rules of such complex processes as urbanization is not easy at all. -

In this research seminar, we will scrutinize the development of core institutions shaping urbanization in China, e.g., fiscal relations between the center and the localities, the land management system, property rights, household registration and public service provision. This will help us to understand the modes and mechanisms of urbanization in China, as well as the prospects for change. Furthermore, in doing so, we will utilize different institutional approaches and discuss their applicability.



Ho, Peter (2005). Institutions in Transition. Land Ownership, Property Rights, and Social Conflict in China. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

Hsing, You-tien (2010). The Great Urban Transformation. Politics of Land and Property in China. New York: Oxford University Press.

The World Bank, & Development Research Center of the State Council (2014). Urban China. Toward Efficient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Urbanization. Washington, D.C.: World Bank Group.

Guojia xinxing chengzhenhua guihua (2012-2014 nian) (National New-Type Urbanization Programme (2014-2020)). Available at: (25 February 2016).

Further references will be handed out during the first session.