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Policy Dimensions of Progressive Institutional Change: Lessons from China’s Construction of a Socialist Market Economy

Ricardo C. S. Siu

Journal of Economic Issues, 2020, vol. 54, issue 2, 472-479

Abstract: Through a comprehensive review of the progressive institutional change (PIC) literature, I first discuss four possible trajectories of PIC by considering the forces of societal reaction that might frame the path, as well as the scale and scope of the changes. Thus, I pose four questions that need to be asked when related policies are formulated for PIC. To illustrate this method, I scrutinize the evidence from the construction of a socialist market economy by the Chinese government since the 1980s and argue that related policies have successfully promoted PIC from three dimensions: (1) curbing potential conflicts with power groups; (2) promoting a sense of awareness among stakeholders; and (3) minimizing disturbances to the community. Actually, the related changes demonstrate a dynamic “displacement process” for PICs. Despite the success of this sociosystem, it is found that the sustaining of PIC which requires policy factors that enhance instrumental efficiency in the Chinese context will serve as a challenge to the Chinese government ahead.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/00213624.2020.1752543

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