中文版
School of PSPA Faculty Thursday Lunch Colloquium on April 14
2016-04-08 13:08:46

Governing Low-Carbon City Development in China: Possibilities and Pitfalls

Kyoung Shin
Associate Professor
Department of Administrative Management
School of Political Science and Public Administration
 
VENUE: School of PSPA Faculty Thursday Lunch Colloquium (TLC)
DATE: April 14, 2016
TIME: 11:30AM to 13:30PM
PLACE: 政管院, Room 332
ABSTRACT:
Considered one of the hallmarks of its reform practices, centrally-coordinated policy experimentation—a flexible procedural coupling of central coordination and local experiments—has increasingly been applied to various regulatory policies in China in recent years (e.g., model environmental protection city, carbon-trading pilot projects, low-carbon cities). Its salutary effects on local innovation and national reform have largely been attributed to two main factors: discriminating coordination by the central government and distribution of incentives within the political hierarchy. Using the rise and fall of “low-carbon city” in Baoding (Hebei Province) from 2005 to present as a case in point, this paper illustrates that the promise of local regulatory policies lies not necessarily on such procedural mechanisms; rather it lies on how governance is organized and enacted on the ground. I show that an emerging architecture of local governance had been primarily responsible for the development of Baoding’s low-carbon city from 2005 to 2010. It is distinct in two major dimensions. First, the principle-agent relationships within the political hierarchy are giving way to professional community-building between actors across multiple levels and sectors. Second, beyond formal incentives, local governance is enacted through a set of community-driven practices between the protagonists, such as joint framework- or platform-making, collective learning about local conditions, joint monitoring and problem-solving, and peer review. In contrast, I show how the imposition of prototypical centrally-coordinated policy experimentation since 2010 has contributed to the rapid decline of Baoding’s low-carbon city project. Findings raise important questions about the conventional wisdom on local policy innovation in China.