From Support to Pressure: The Dynamics of Social and Governmental Influences on Environmental Law Enforcement in Guangzhou City, China

45 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2012 Last revised: 14 Dec 2013

See all articles by Benjamin van Rooij

Benjamin van Rooij

University of California, Irvine School of Law; University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law

Gerald E. Fryxell

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

Carlos Wing-Hung Lo

Independent

Wei Wang

Jinan University

Date Written: July 18, 2012

Abstract

This paper examines how regulation functions in China’s dynamic authoritarian setting through the study of changes in political and social influences on environmental enforcement in Guangzhou city between 2000 and 2006. The paper finds that a form of 'decentered regulation' has developed in the dynamic authoritarian context of Guangzhou city, as regulatory enforcement is no longer the sole affair of the government and the regulatory bureaucracy, but has been increasingly influenced by societal forces. It was found that by 2006, the rise of civil society and its increased support for the environment had had a double-edged impact on the enforcement of environmental regulations. While in 2000 societal support improved enforcement effectiveness perceived by enforcement officials if local government support was high, by 2006, societal support improved their perceived enforcement effectiveness only in cases where political support was low. When political support was high, extra societal support for environmental regulation produced a negative effect on enforcement effectiveness. The transformation over time shows the promise and limits of decentered regulation in Guangzhou’s dynamic authoritarian setting. It demonstrates that there is a consistent ability of societal forces to counterbalance governments who do not support their own regulation. However, it also shows that with the rise of civil society and increased concerns over social instability, a resultant overburdening of political and social pressures can jointly create a negative effect on enforcement.

Keywords: China, regulatory governance, regulatory enforcement, societal support, authoritarianism

Suggested Citation

van Rooij, Benjamin and Fryxell, Gerald E. and Lo, Carlos Wing-Hung and Wang, Wei, From Support to Pressure: The Dynamics of Social and Governmental Influences on Environmental Law Enforcement in Guangzhou City, China (July 18, 2012). Regulation & Governance, Vol. 7, No. 3, 2013; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2014-6; Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2012-77; Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2012-03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2111965 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2111965

Benjamin Van Rooij (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

University of Amsterdam - Faculty of Law ( email )

Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands

Gerald E. Fryxell

China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) ( email )

Shanghai-Hongfeng Road
Shanghai 201206
Shanghai 201206
China

Carlos Wing-Hung Lo

Independent

No Address Available
United States

Wei Wang

Jinan University ( email )

Huang Pu Da Dao Xi 601, Tian He District
Guangzhou, Guangdong 510632
China

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
148
Abstract Views
1,209
rank
207,777
PlumX Metrics