China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Toward a Dynamic Understanding of Policy Networks and Ideas in China

Friday, March 23
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Washington Room 6, Exhibit Level

Research on policy making in post-Mao China has focussed on identifying key actors (factions, bureaucratic agencies, the media and NGOs) and institutions (notably, systems of rank within top-down authoritarian decision structures). This research has portrayed policy as the product of top leader preferences and bureaucratic bargaining (based on interests), with policy change the result of external shocks or non-state policy entrepreneurs getting new initiatives onto the policy agenda. But changes in leader preferences, bureaucratic interests and institutions remain under-theorised and empirically under-researched, making for a largely static model of policy making that is unable to account for the very dynamic evolution of policy across many policy areas over the last three decades. This paper proposes a new, more dynamic approach to understanding policy making in China that focusses on identifying policy networks and the evolution of policy ideas. It incorporates dynamic network analysis (Leifeld, 2016) into a study of health policy debates to testprevious explanations of policy change.

Jane Duckett

University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

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