Selective Policy Implementation in Rural China
Comparative Politics, Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 167-86, January 1999
20 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2008
How do Chinese local officials define their tasks and distinguish between policies that must be executed and those they can safely ignore? Drawing on "top-down" and "bottom-up" approaches to implementation, we examine how much discretion rural leaders enjoy and how this discretion affects policy delivery. Archival sources and interviews show that selective implementation is an outgrowth of the institutions that govern cadre management. One-level-down management, the end of mass campaigns, and cadre responsibility systems have led local officials to urge villagers to pay their taxes, accept cremation, and practice birth control, but to ignore less measurable policies that forbid excessive extraction and coercive behavior. Efforts to address misimplementation are also discussed, including "rightful resistance" by aggrieved villagers.
Keywords: China, rural, implementation, cadre responsibility system, rightful resistance
JEL Classification: K49, 054, P33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation