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Explaining policy making in the People's Republic of China: the case of the Urban Resident Minimum Livelihood Guarantee System, 1992-2003

Hammond, Daniel Robert (2009) Explaining policy making in the People's Republic of China: the case of the Urban Resident Minimum Livelihood Guarantee System, 1992-2003. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

From 1992 to 2003 the emergence of the urban resident Minimum Livelihood Guarantee (MLG) system saw a major reconfiguration and expansion of social assistance in the People's Republic of China (PRC). There are currently two gaps in current studies of the MLG which this dissertation will address. First, detailed historical information on the MLG is lacking in the English language. Second, the focus of current studies on the effectiveness of the MLG has led to an implicitly rational explanation for the emergence and development of the policy. Such an explanation does not provide a satisfactory explanation for the MLG. Using Chinese language sources and interview data collected during two field trips to the PRC this dissertation uses four different periods in the MLG's development to argue that that explaining the programme requires a more complex approach. Drawing on insights provided by the China studies and wider political science literature I argue that the development of the MLG system has been a complex process which can be explained by using a synthesis of concepts. These are the role played by policy sponsors, a new concept developed in the dissertation, and policy entrepreneurs. Second, the continued importance of the structure of the Chinese state. Finally, the influence of feedback from previous policy decisions and outcomes. These three concepts are used to examine four significant stages of the MLG programme's development. First, the often overlooked emergence of the first MLG programme in Shanghai between 1992 and 1993 is examined. Second, the MLG's shift from a local innovation to a national policy from 1994 to 1997 is investigated. Third, the factors behind the significant expansion of the MLG between 1999 and 2003 are contrasted with more low key developments in the scope and delivery of social assistance. Finally, the concepts developed and applied to the MLG are taken and used to explain the emergence and spread of the Community Public Service Agencies in Dalian. I conclude that the synthesis of the policy sponsor and neo-institutionalist concepts provide a richer explanation of the MLG than that implicit in the existing literature.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: China, policy, MLG, basic income, institutionalism, sponsor
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Supervisor's Name: Duckett, Prof. Jane
Date of Award: 2009
Depositing User: Dr Daniel Hammond
Unique ID: glathesis:2009-1580
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2010
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:42
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1580

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