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Politics and Policy in China's Social Assistance ReformProviding for the Poor?$
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Daniel R. Hammond

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474420112

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474420112.001.0001

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Institutionalisation? Achieving Policy in a Fragmented State

Institutionalisation? Achieving Policy in a Fragmented State

(p.106) Chapter 5 Institutionalisation? Achieving Policy in a Fragmented State
Politics and Policy in China's Social Assistance Reform

Daniel R. Hammond

Edinburgh University Press

The penultimate chapter argues that dibao is afflicted by institutionalisation issues common to other policies during the reform era. I use two cases from dibao to examine this lack of institutionalisation and discuss the implications. The first case discusses the progress of the social assistance law. The second case addresses the responsiveness of social assistance to changes in prices. Both cases highlight the problems of and opportunities a lack of institutionalisation creates. The chapter seeks to discuss both the positive and negative cases for the lack of institutionalisation in China’s social assistance system. Using recent legislative development and recent announcements on the running of dibao to frame the discussion the chapter argues that while the lack of institutionalisation both causes problems and creates opportunities. The fragmented nature of the Chinese state is the reason for both a lack of institutionalisation and its responsive and adaptive nature. To resolve the challenges facing the programme a compromise incorporating some institutionalised elements would work best. Finally, the chapter looks beyond China at how social assistance has been implemented and automatic government introduced for examples relevant to dibao and situates the current challenges within a comparative context.

Keywords:   China, Dibao, Minimum livelihood guarantee, Institutionalisation, Comparative social policy, Automatic government, Inflation, Cost of living, Law

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