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The dynamic role of governments in adopting policy innovations in China

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Biao HuangZhejiang University, China

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Felix WiebrechtThe Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

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A growing number of studies have paid attention to the dynamic nature of vertical government interactions in authoritarian China. Yet, less attention has been paid to the question of why higher-level governments play different roles in diverse cases of innovation adoptions. Building on the extant literature, this study introduces the concept of innovation copyright, that is, the perceived ownership of the innovation, to explain the different roles of higher-level government involvement in innovation adoption. A comparative case study of policy innovations in China highlights that if higher-level governments perceive that they own the innovation copyright, they act as proactive facilitators, and if higher-level governments perceive that the innovation copyright belongs to local governments, they are involved as political backers. The copyright structures the expectations of higher-level and local governments and as a consequence determines their roles in innovation adoptions.

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Biao HuangZhejiang University, China

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Felix WiebrechtThe Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

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