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The political economics of rise of the institutionalization of local deliberative democracy: evidence from 36 cities in China
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2017, 00:00 authored by Baogang HeBaogang He, J Wu
Local deliberative democracy has been developing in both urban and rural China. But why have some cities been more likely to initiate and organize public deliberation than others? Although some scholars have developed a functionalist theory of the rise of deliberative democracy in contemporary China, there are few quantitative studies to map how wide public deliberation has spread across China and to explain why local governments adopt public deliberation. Using public hearings documents in 36 Chinese cities as a form of institutionalization of public deliberation, this paper examines the effect of the key political, economic and social factors on the institutionalism of public hearings in relation to the number of public hearing documents. This study finds that the level of economic development, trade openness, social conflict and the governmental social response are the main determinants of public hearings. We suggest that incentives for promotion of government capacity, especially the capacity to address eco-social issues is one of the most important drivers for the rise and growth of the Institutionalization of China’s local public deliberation.