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The Reinvention of Development Planning in China, 1993–2012

author Sebastian Heilmann and Oliver Melton publish : 2013/12/1 16:00:00   hits :  2719
Abstract
In studies of China’s economic rise and political system, multiyear comprehensive and sectoral plans issued by the national government tend to be played down as futile efforts at reigning in a political economy increasingly driven by market incentives and decentralized decisions. Contrary to this, we provide evidence that China’s planning system has been transformed alongside the economic transition, yet remains central to almost all domains of public policy making and the political institutions that have fostered China’s high-speed growth and economic stability. The incorporation of experimental programs into macro-plans, a tiered hierarchy of policy oversight, newly introduced mid-course plan evaluations, and systematic top-level policy review have allowed Chinese planners to play a central role in economic policy making without succumbing to the rigidity traps that debased traditional planned economies. By better understanding how the planning cycle influences incentives and resources of successive layers of bureaucracies and jurisdictions, and how it updates itself and adapts to new challenges, it is possible to explain a greater proportion of the Chinese policy-making process, including many of its successes and pathologies.

Keywords
China, planning, five-year plan, planning cycle, policy making, policy process, policy review, experimental governance, adaptive capacity

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