Good governance or muddling through? Layoffs and employment reform in socialist China

Wing Kai Stephen CHIU, Eva P. W. HUNG

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8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

China's socialist employment system has undergone radical changes since the 1990s along with enterprise restructuring. Surplus workers have been laid off from state-owned enterprises in large numbers. China's policy program for the management of layoffs in this process of enterprise restructuring has been evaluated as an example of 'good practices in labor administration'. In this paper, we use original field data collected in Beijing, supplemented by additional information from recent Chinese studies, to assess this evaluation. We apply for this purpose the criteria often used by development agencies to evaluate governance systems, namely, accountability, transparency, consistency, participation, and information flow. Using these criteria as a yardstick, we argue that the Chinese experience in reforming their employment system through massive layoffs and re-employment is better characterized as a classic case of 'muddling through' rather than a shining example of 'good governance'. Copyright © 2004 The Regents of the University of California. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-411
JournalCommunist and Post-Communist Studies
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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layoffs
good governance
employment system
reform
China
restructuring
labor administration
state owned enterprise
information flow
accountability
transparency
best practice
labor
governance
worker
responsibility
participation
evaluation
management
experience

Citation

Chiu, S. W. K., & Hung, E. P. W. (2004). Good governance or muddling through? Layoffs and employment reform in socialist China. Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 37(3), 395-411. doi: 10.1016/j.postcomstud.2004.06.006

Keywords

  • China
  • Governance
  • Layoffs
  • Employment reform