The Formation of a Transport Policy Market in China: From Policy Transfer to Policy Mobility

TitleThe Formation of a Transport Policy Market in China: From Policy Transfer to Policy Mobility
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsJinhua Zhao, Zhongyue Wang
Conference NameTransportation Research Board 93rd Annual Meeting
PublisherTransportation Research Board
Conference LocationWashington, D.C.

Policy travel, a series of processes in which policies are transmitted and, possibly, mutated through a network of policy-making sites, plays an important role in China’s rapid transportation development. This paper examines the Chinese transport policy market framework: its formation, components and transactions. The study is based on 30in-depth interviews with politicians, technicians and academics involved in transport policy and 14 transportation policies discussed in 11 Chinese cities. The study found that policy learning, policy transfer and policy mobility are occurring in China, and have led to the formation of a policy market. The four major components of a policy market are products, traders, consumers/producers and currencies. Products include both abstract concepts and specific operational details, as well as negative lessons and inactive success, i.e. success achieved by not applying a policy available in the market. Traders include a variety of academics and students, bureaucrats and politicians, the public and the media, and consultants and industry. Consumers and producers in a transaction are matched by geography and stage of development. The market’s currencies are fiscal capacity, technical capacity and reputational capacity, which may be partly interchangeable. Chinese approaches to policy transactions may be characterized by emulation or inspiration or by an emulation/inspiration hybrid. The market includes free transactions, centralized transactions, and mixed transactions. Constraints, such as the principal-agent dilemma, may lead to market failure, and politicians' personal judgment leads to considerable uncertainty in the market. The study suggests three ways to improve the transport policy market: develop a systematic approach to policy travel, improve transparency, and encourage personal interactions between policy-makers.