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Lee, "Politics and energy policy in post-Mao China," 1992

USC Dissertation in Politics.
August 26, 2009

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Tai Hwan Lee, Ph.D.

Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation examines the institutional context of policy making and the content of policies in order to illuminate one aspect of the policy process by studying actual policies in a single industrial sector (energy) in one country (China). The unit of analysis is not the country as a whole or the national economic policy, but rather one industrial policy arena and the national and the relevant sub-national level institutions, including the central and state apparatus and the industrial enterprises. The study seeks answers to such questions as: (1) What is the pattern of continuity and change in energy policy? (2) What are the conditions, issues, and circumstances under which political factors are more important than economic and technical factors in energy policy making? (3) Why does there exist a gap between policy pronouncement and outcomes? (4) How do energy policy outcomes influence politics?

In order to describe and analyze how and why policy changes occur in the energy sector, this study examines policy pronouncements, implementation, and outcomes in post-Mao China with respect to six policy issues: (1) capital construction investment, (2) management, (3) prices, (4) foreign investment, (5) energy export, and (6) technology transfer. The policy changes tend to go hand in hand with changes in the institutional context. In order to analyze context change, it is necessary to examine organizational and personnel changes, as well as the changing relationships between state and enterprise, and between the center and the province. Case studies in each energy sector were made. The findings show that: (1) No cyclical patterns nor any simple linear developments were found. (2) In post-Mao China, policy outcomes became more important in policy-making and politics than in Maoist China. (3) The policy impacts on politics became most discernable in investment and management policy issues. And (4) policy changes influenced institutional changes and vice versa.

Based on these findings, it can be hypothesized that the policy process in energy is becoming less politicized. It has also become clear that the policy process differs by issue and over time. (Copies available exclusively from Micrographics Department, Doheny Library, USC, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0182.)

Advisor: Totten, George O.

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