Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Chinese Institutions and Policy Experimentation: The case of Zhongguancun

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posted on 2021-11-13, 21:18 authored by Watson, Clinton

The nature of institutional change lies at the heart of understanding China’s extraordinary transformation of the past 30 years. This thesis adopts an historical institutionalist approach, emphasising dynamic and path dependent processes, in examining Zhongguancun (ZGC), China’s premier science, technology and innovation zone in Beijing. The analytical framework deals with many of the critical issues of institutional analysis of large-scale economic development and social change: the Chinese experience as radical or gradual change; institutional convergence or divergence; formal and informal institutions; top-down design and bottom-up, spontaneous development. ZGC illustrates the ongoing importance of experimentation in Chinese policy as various institutional innovations have emerged from the zone, both spontaneously and through state-led trial schemes. However, increasing preponderance from the Chinese leadership and the highest state-level institutions may ultimately thwart attempts to turn ZGC into a world-class innovation hub.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

International Relations

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of International Relations

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Huang, Xiaoming