This book examines the role of institutions in China’s recent large-scale economic, social and political transformation. The book argues that, although the importance of institutions in China’s rapid economic growth and social development over the past 30 years is widely acknowledged, exactly how institutions affect changes in particular national and historical settings is less well understood. Unlike existing literature, it offers perspectives from a variety of disciplines - including law, economics, politics, international relations and communication studies – to consider whether institutions form, evolve and change differently according to their historical or cultural environments and if their utilitarian functions can, and should be, observed, identified and measured in different ways.
The book discusses China’s political and legal institutions; the international institutions with which China engages; institutions promoting science and technology; media companies; and local institutions including the household registration system. It also examines how institutions themselves have been formed, changed and re-formed over recent decades, and suggests theoretical and methodological adjustments in institutional analysis to allow a fuller understanding of the institutional dynamics of China’s transformation.