The 5th Public Governance Forum in Greater China

March 8th, 2017

Call for Proposal: Evidence-based Policy Making in Greater China and Australia

Hosted by the Dr. Seaker Chan Center for Comparative Political Development Studies, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Oct 21-22, 2017

Co-Sponsors

The theme

Evidence-Based Policy Making (EBPM) has emerged as an important idea whereby scientific evidence is used to empower and discipline public policy making. EBPM has gained traction in a number of local, national and regional governments around the world.  Founded on assumptions of instrumental rationalism, EBPM is seen as an important way to strengthen the capacities of governments. However, we have not seen unfettered support for EBPM and such approaches have been criticized for neglecting the political and institutional contexts that fundamentally shape the production and functioning of policy-related knowledge.  Moreover, it may not always be quite as simple as assumed to access high quality ‘objective’ evidence, particularly for complex policy problems.   Recent public sector changes in the UK, the USA, and other jurisdictions have instead revealed a disposition toward value-based policy making. 

The EBPM approach and the debates over it echo the dilemma of policy making in China where scientification and democratisation have been the two officially-announced fundamental principles of policy making. As a result of rapid modernization,  Chinese society is in urgent need of high-quality policy supplies in response to complex socioeconomic issues such as economic and financial stabilization and innovation, domestic migration, population development, social welfare, environmental preservation, and regional development. China's huge size and local variation make policy making and implementation more difficult. In the faces of these challenges research is needed in order to allow us realize and reconcile scientification and democratization for the contemporary era.

In developed countries, the two principles of scientification and democratisation are called into question. The growing skepticism towards experts, the rise of anti-establishment politics within democracies, as well as with increasing contestation within many international institutions contribute to a deconsolidation of expertise supporting public policies, from science policy to economic and social policy. As a result, we need to better understand what determines the legitimacy of expert knowledge in policy making, to identify who are the trusted experts today and to analyze the threats of an independent expertise. In the current environment of ‘post-truth politics’, we need to better understand how new developments (such as inequalities and populism) interact with expertise, generating doubts about and providing alternatives to expert knowledge and EBPM.  

The proposed conference aims to discuss in depth EBPM-related issues in Greater China and Australia from multiple perspectives. Both theoretical and empirical papers are welcome. Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:

Background

The Department of Public Policy of City University of Hong Kong, the Institute of Public Affairs of Taiwan University, the Melbourne School of Government of University of Melbourne, the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, the School of Public Management of Renmin University, and the Public Service Research Group, University of New South Wales co-sponsor this conference. The conference is also the 5th of the annual Public Governance Forum in Greater China (两岸三地公共治理学术论坛) that started in 2013.

The conference will be hosted by the Dr. Seaker Chan Center for Comparative Political Development Studies of Fudan University.

Submissions

Abstracts should be submitted by 15 April 2017 and will be acknowledged. Participants will be notified of acceptance within one month. Please send all abstract submissions to ebpm@fudan.edu.cn. Please note that abstracts must be a maximum of 500 words, plus a maximum of five indicative references (not a full reference list) and five keywords. Author information shall be provided as well.

Full papers shall be submitted by email by 25th Sep 2017. Papers shall have a maximum length of about 8,000 words (everything included) and follow AJPA reference style.

Any initial enquiries about the conference should be directed to ebpm@fudan.edu.cn.

Publication

All papers presented at the conference will be eligible for review for a special issue of Australian Journal of Public Administration on “Evidence-based Policy Making in Greater China and Australia”. Papers may also be considered for an edited book in the Palgrave book series Governing China in the 21 Century.

Papers shall follow the reference style of Australian Journal of Public Administration.

Guest editors 

Helen Dickinson, University of New South Wales

Yijia Jing, Fudan University

Janine O'Flynn, University of Melbourne

Logistics

There is no registration fee. Local accommodation including meals and hotel will be provided by the host during the conference.