Walter G. Ellis

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration and Policy


Public Administration

Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 252 pages)


Administrative agencies -- China -- Reorganization, Bureaucracy -- China, China -- Economic policy -- 1976-2000




The need to improve the quality of government decision-making and tailor China's management to its more complex economy after Mao's death forced China's Party authorities to implement a number of administrative reforms, and to select administrative leaders from among professionals and specialists based on their competence, education, and age. The crucial outcome of these post-Mao reforms, 1979 to the present, is the major focus of this research. This study examines the role of China's top administrative elites during and after the post-Mao administrative reforms, and determines to what extent the changes and their impact on the policy-making may have brought about better economic policies and development. China's social and political conditions and leadership changes before, during, and after the reform are provided as background information for the analysis of policy making in China. This is followed by an analysis of various contemporary theories of bureaucracy and technocracy in general, and the Weberian Legal-Rational model of modern bureaucracy in particular. Qualitative and quantitative methods coupled with surveys, interviews, biographical and documentary-historical methods, and other primary and secondary data are combined in this empirical study. The primary data on biographical information of administrative elites were drawn from the collected results of questionnaires and interviews with elite members of State Council ministries and commissions, provincial and municipal governments. The secondary data were used to conduct a biographical study of the Maoist and post-Mao top administrative elites--all premiers, vice-premiers, State Council ministers, and all provincial governors and municipal mayors from the founding of the PRC in 1949 up until 1993. Through these analyses, the study found that post-Mao administrative reform has indeed brought about changes in the composition of administrative elites. These post-Mao administrative elites are more professionally competent, better educated, more efficient, and younger. Their economic policies have stimulated more extensive and sustained economic development.


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