T01P05 - What Can China’s Water Governance Contribute to Policy Theory?

Topic : Policy Process Theories

Panel Chair : Yahua Wang - wangyahua@tsinghua.edu.cn

Panel Second Chair : Cecilia Tortajada - cecilia.tortajada@nus.edu.sg

Panel Third Chair : Asit K. Biswas - prof.asit.k.biswas@gmail.com

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Water governance is considered one of the most important public policy issues in China, with a tradition as long as the history of Chinese civilization. As a result of China’s rapid industrialisation and urbanisation over the past three decades, the country’s water policy has been constantly changing. There has been a remarkable transformation of water policy to confront the complexities brought by deteriorating water ecology, frequent water shortages and threats of flood. Water policy and associated governing practice play an important role in sustainable economic and social development in China, and water governance in China will continue to evolve and develop as China makes further progress towards a high-income economy.

Policy process research concerns stasis, change and complexity of interaction in public policy over time entailing actors, structures, cultures, institutions, and socioeconomic and biophysical conditions. The complexity of the policy process is understood by theoretical inquiry into practical reality, and development in policy theory requires constant attention to complex interactions that are defined by changing circumstances. Chinese water governance provides a unique lens to understand public policy, and yet it receives little attention in the study of policy theory. The proposed panel, entitled “What Can China’s Water Governance Contribute to Policy Theory?”, is co-organised by School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, and Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. It aims to fill in this gap by highlighting the importance of Chinese water governance to the domain of public policy theory. Given that China provides unique contextual circumstances with high hydrological uncertainty, rapid economic development, an authoritarian political regime, and long-enduring Chinese culture, China’s experiences with water governance have significant potential to contribute to modern policy theory, including that related to policy decisions, the policy process, policy evaluation and comparative policy analysis.

Call for papers

The panel, “What Can China’s Water Governance Contribute to Policy Theory?”, co-organised by School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, and Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, seeks to inspire and enrich the understanding on policy science based on empirical studies of Chinese water governance. Given that China provides unique contextual circumstances with high hydrological uncertainty, rapid economic development, an authoritarian political regime, and a long-enduring culture, this panel aims to be an initial attempt to contribute the perspective of China water governance to modern policy theory, including theory related to policy decisions, the policy process, policy evaluation and comparative policy analysis.

We welcome papers with sound theoretical focus on the impact of Chinese water policy on policy process theories, which examines how transformation and innovation of present China’s water policy inform robust theoretical implications for policy science. Under this call for papers, we suggest addressing themes, including but not limiting to:

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