Innovation or imitation – a comparison of performance evaluation models in China

Huping SHANG, Wenwen LI, Wei LIU


Innovation of public sector has been greatly advocated and supported in China, and numerous so-called local innovations have emerged. Are they really innovations or just imitations from others? Through a quantitative comparison analysis with 66 so-called innovations in performance management of China’s local governments, we find that these innovations show more similarities than differences to each other, and they are imitations rather than innovations. Further, we argue that the ‘de facto federalism’ of China’s power structure, the incentive of China’s bureaucratic system, and the organizational culture of the public sector may result in such an outcome that rhetoric innovation is much more than substantive innovation


policy innovation; policy imitation; performance evaluation; public sector; China.

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