Tackling unemployment in China: state capacity and governance issues

Duckett, J. and Hussain, A. (2008) Tackling unemployment in China: state capacity and governance issues. Pacific Review, 21(2), pp. 211-229. (doi: 10.1080/09512740801990279)

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This paper considers China's state capacity and changing governance as revealed through its policies to tackle unemployment. Despite high levels of growth, economic restructuring has resulted in rising unemployment over the last decade. The Chinese state has been able to manage job losses from state enterprises, demonstrating some state capacity in relation to this sector and some persistent command economy governance mechanisms. However both design and implementation of policies to compensate and assist particular groups among the unemployed have been shaped by weak state capacity in several other areas. First, capacity to gather accurate employment data is limited, meaning local and central governments do not have a good understanding of the extent and nature of unemployment. Second, the sustainability of supposedly mandatory unemployment insurance schemes is threatened by poor capacity to enforce participation. Third, poor central state capacity to ensure local governments implement policies effectively leads to poor unemployment insurance fund capacity, resulting in provision for only a narrow segment of the unemployed and low quality employment services. Although the adoption of unemployment insurance (and its extension to employers and employees in the private sector), the introduction of a Labour Contract Law in 2007, and the delivery of employment services by private businesses indicate a shift towards the use of new governance mechanisms based on entitlement, contract and private sector delivery of public-sector goods, that shift is undermined by poor state capacity in relation to some of these new mechanisms.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:State capacity, governance, unemployment, China
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Duckett, Professor Jane
Authors: Duckett, J., and Hussain, A.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Pacific Review
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1470-1332
Published Online:21 April 2008
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2008 Taylor and Francis
First Published:First published in Pacific Review 21(2):211-229
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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