The policy agenda has been recognised as a fundamental feature of public policy in democratic regimes. It is central to both the practice and understanding of policy change and governance. However, systematic analysis of the policy agenda in China is rare. Using a new dataset of all China's five-year plans and National laws between 1949 and 2022, this paper analyses the policy agenda of the Chinese government and test the hypotheses on agenda change and diversity over time. The analysis uses the Comparative Agenda Project (CAP) coding framework to measure total political attention to particular policy issues. I found that the stability has been interrupted by periods of significant changes especially when leadership changeover involved. China, as the largest authoritarian regime, its policy agenda dynamics involved both small changes and big shifts. This indicates that the punctuated equilibrium theory is well suited to the agenda of the Chinese government. I also measure entropy to identify the dispersion of government attention across issues, which shows how the Chinese government agenda become more diverse over time. This can be accounted for by China's rapid economic growth, marketisation and modernisation. Overall, this paper describes and explains stability and change in China's policy agenda over the past 7 decades. It offers empirical insights on Chinese politics and policy making.
Xinwei Chen, Monash University, Australia
Robert Thomson, Monash University, Australia
About the Presenter(s)
Mr Xinwei Chen is a University Doctoral Student at Monash University in Australia
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