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University of Southern California

1. Yee, Wai-Hang. China's environmental reform: ecological modernization, regulatory compliance, and institutional change.

Degree: PhD, Policy, Planning and Development, 2014, University of Southern California

China’s rapid economic growth in the past three decades has created devastating consequences for its environment. Recently, however, there have been many signs of positive change. This dissertation examines the recent environmental reform in China by analyzing data collected from senior executives of Hong Kong-owned firms with manufacturing operations in the Pearl River Delta region, Guangdong. It adopts three theoretical perspectives for understanding three distinct but interrelated aspects of the reform. ❧ The first study of the dissertation examines, through an ecological modernization perspective, the progress and effectiveness of various reform measures in fostering behavioral changes among firms. It finds that economic rationality is no longer the only organizing principle in the Chinese economy. Government, market, and to a lesser extent civil society actors are exerting stronger environmental pressures on business enterprises, which in some circumstances has led these enterprises to adopt more progressive environmental behaviors. ❧ The second study examines from a regulatory compliance perspective what motivates firms’ compliance behaviors with governmental regulatory demands. It proposes an analytical framework for systematically mapping firms’ compliance motivations in China’s regulatory situation, in which the rule of law cannot be assumed. The study found that firms’ environmental behaviors were driven less by their intentions to better comply with environmental laws and regulations than by their motivations to avoid the punishment they may receive for violating the regulator’s demands, and, notably, to prevent the potential arbitrary interference from the regulator’s use of his enforcement power. Their environmental behaviors also varied negatively with the number of challenges they found in trying to understand the de facto regulation that represents the regulator’s self-restraint in using his enforcement power. These findings suggest that environmental laws and regulations in China cannot yet be relied upon as a useful objective reference for regulatees’ compliance decisions. This poses significant challenges for regulatees in judging whether the regulator is regulating arbitrarily for his personal interests, as well as on local regulators in demonstrating their commitments to the regulatory goals. ❧ The third study analyzed the recent surge of government-sponsored voluntary environmental programs from a broader perspective of institutional change. Three practical challenges were identified in the local governments’ efforts to transform centrally devised environmental plans and rules into actual local policy practices: namely, the regulatees’ concerns about the potential arbitrary enforcement of the regulator, the regulatees’ concerns about the collective inaction problem among them, and the regulator’s concern about standard setting for achieving effective regulatory governance. The study finds that voluntary programs help local officials identify among the policy population a set of exemplars whose… Advisors/Committee Members: Tang, Shui Yan (Committee Chair), Fiss, Peer C. (Committee Member), Mazmanian, Daniel A. (Committee Member).

Subjects/Keywords: China; environment; reform; ecological modernization; regulation; compliance; regulation-stated; regulation enforced; institutional change; voluntary program

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APA · Chicago · MLA · Vancouver · CSE | Export to Zotero / EndNote / Reference Manager

APA (6th Edition):

Yee, W. (2014). China's environmental reform: ecological modernization, regulatory compliance, and institutional change. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Southern California. Retrieved from http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15799coll3/id/57970/rec/1347

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Yee, Wai-Hang. “China's environmental reform: ecological modernization, regulatory compliance, and institutional change.” 2014. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Southern California. Accessed October 22, 2019. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15799coll3/id/57970/rec/1347.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Yee, Wai-Hang. “China's environmental reform: ecological modernization, regulatory compliance, and institutional change.” 2014. Web. 22 Oct 2019.

Vancouver:

Yee W. China's environmental reform: ecological modernization, regulatory compliance, and institutional change. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2014. [cited 2019 Oct 22]. Available from: http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15799coll3/id/57970/rec/1347.

Council of Science Editors:

Yee W. China's environmental reform: ecological modernization, regulatory compliance, and institutional change. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Southern California; 2014. Available from: http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p15799coll3/id/57970/rec/1347

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