Origin and network: examining the influence of non-local Chambers of Commerce in the Chinese local policy process

Wang, Hua (2017) Origin and network: examining the influence of non-local Chambers of Commerce in the Chinese local policy process. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b3269403


China’s transition from planned economy to market economy (economic liberalization) has catalyzed the private sector’s emergence and growth, as well as given birth to new forms of business associations within the private sector, such as Non-local Chambers of Commerce (NCCs, hereafter). NCCs emerged from mid-1990s, and have proliferated rapidly across China’s localities and industries. Unlike traditional official business associations, NCCs have significantly participated in local governance and demonstrated new types of state-society relations. However, they have not yet reached the attention of scholarly researchers, and have been understudied within and outside of China.

At the same time, political scientists working on policy processes have begun to include China as a case to enrich their theory, but find it hard to adapt established models to China’s policymaking system. Research on the Chinese policy process have gone from elite politics in the 1950-1960s, to “fragmented authoritarianism” in the 1970-1980s, then to “fragmented authoritarianism 2.0” after 2000. During the evolution of these theories, it has been noticed that more and more non-bureaucratic actors have been involved into the policymaking process if not being the prominent actors. There have been studies on “policy entrepreneur”, environmental NGOs, international NGOs, Chinese think-tanks and different forms of business lobbying. However, within the spectrum of business lobbying, there is a gap in understanding business associations’ influence in policy processes, especially the new type of so claimed “grass-roots” business associations.

This thesis sheds lights on this new type of private sector business association - NCCs and their influence in the local urban policy process. NCCs have been widely involved in local governance and political engagement. However, their political participation shows great variation due to differences in regions, organizational forms, industries and policy spheres. So the question of what lead to the variation of NCCs’ policy influence has become the highlights of this research project. By using the empirical materials from participant observation and interviews, this thesis aims to answer two main questions: How did NCCs influence the local policy process and what explains the difference in their policy influence?

In this thesis, I develop a typology for NCCs by using the dimensions of “origins” and “networks”. Thus all the NCCs have been categorized into four types: “Dependent NCCs”, “Independent NCCs”, “Coupling NCCs” and “Decoupling NCCs”. Through in-depth case analysis, I argue that NCCs’ networks and their ability to mobilize resources within their networks determine their policy impact. In terms of NCCs’ network orientation, the state networks of NCCs directly affect their access to policy lobbying, while the business networks directly affect the resources for their lobbying, thus determine NCCs’ lobbying capacity in the local policy process. In terms of NCCs’ network strategy, network span influences policy making while network intensity influences policy implementations. To be specific, NCCs with network span strategy could influence more general policy agendas and policy spheres, while NCCs with network intensity strategy could exert more influence in specific policies especially in the policy implementation stage.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Non-local chambers of commerce, Chinese local policy process, origin, network.
Subjects: J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
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, Professor Jane and Kollman, Dr. Kelly
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Dr Hua Wang
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8249
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2017 15:12
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2017 15:31
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8249

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