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Shaw, "Public administration of the one-child policy in the People's Republic of China: Population panacea or ideological mare's nest?," 2002

USC Dissertation in Public Administration.
August 24, 2009

Johnny Shaw, D.P.A.

Abstract (Summary)
Issues associated with population control in the People's Republic of China, including its one-child policy, adopted in 1979, have generally been approached from two points of view. One, adopted by the PRC government and connected with Malthusian or neo-Malthusian economic theory, links a country's economic development to an appropriate population size and economic degradation to overpopulation. A second point of view, largely critical, deals with policy enforcement as yet another example of state-sanctioned coercion of individual behavior in a Marxist-Leninist state. But another dynamic operates in the PRC as well: the complex interplay of public-policy administrative practices, institutional structures, and guidelines for policy implementation connected to cultural and political attributes unique to Mainland China. Accordingly, this study examines the relevance of principles that guide official PRC policy articulations--notably the political ideology of the Chinese Communist Party--to shaping the administrative perspective of one-child-policy implementation, including problems and challenges posed by enforcement protocols. Those guiding principles are also relevant to policy-implementation consequences both perceived and directly experienced by those who have been and are obliged to comply with the policy. Relying in particular on input from persons in the city of Hefei, Anhui Province, who have had administrative and lay experience of the policy over the course of its history, the study identifies linkages between achievements and problems of one-child policy on one hand, and the engine of policy compliance, including the variety of social and political controls embedded in implementation, on the other.

Advisor: Robertson, Peter; Biller, Bob; Musso, Juliet