Governing Civil Service Pay in China

Alfred M. Wu

  • Published:
  • Pages: 256 pp.
  • illustrated
  • Series number: 3
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

Examines a significant and hotly debated issue in the governance of China, one closely associated with legitimacy change (from an economy-based approach to welfare-based one), income distribution, central–local relations and the fight against corruption. Deepens our understanding of China’s reform process.

 

As agents of the state, civil servants play a central role in public governance and socioeconomic development. In developing countries, an effective civil service pay system may provide strong incentives for better public service and rein in corruption, whereas poor remuneration can fuel corruption and discontent among civil servants.

Grappling to develop a well-functioning pay regime has challenged the PRC since its birth. Over the past decade, reforms implemented in the civil service pay system have been closely associated with legitimacy change (from an economy-based approach to welfare-based one), income distribution and central-local relations. However, these reforms have sparked a heated debate over their legitimacy, effectiveness and direction. By examining the complexities of this situation and the tug-of-war over remuneration among different players, this pioneering study deepens our understanding of the internal tensions with which China's reform process is fraught.

Alfred M. Wu is Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian and Policy Studies at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. He earned his PhD from City University of Hong Kong.

His research interests include public sector reform, central-local fiscal relations, corruption and governance, and social protection in Greater China. In addition to his academic research, Dr. Wu writes for the media, regularly contributing columns and op-eds that address governance and public policy issues in Greater China.

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by Lina Vyas, Hong Kong Institute of Education
From journal:
Governance – Volume 29, Issue 3, pages 452–453, July 2016

"This book is a timely study of a field that has yet to be closely examined despite great demand.

"This book is a timely study of a field that has yet to be closely examined despite great demand.

[…] the book is an extremely valuable source for academics, economists,government officials, professionals, businesspeople, and students. It covers unexplored territory and contains a number of facts and figures that make the subject more interesting and approachable. It will also appeal to researchers interested in human resource management as well as in the politics of contemporary China.

The book bridges the gaps present in the existing literature by providing new information and analysis of hurdles faced by China’s government, which is often associated with legality modification, income distribution, and central–local relations."

by Fang Lee Cooke, Monash University, Australia
From journal:
China Information 30(1)

"[…] on the whole the book is well researched and well written. Statistical information is well used to provide an interesting analytical narrative. The book is aimed at scholars and students of political science, sociology and economics.

"[…] on the whole the book is well researched and well written. Statistical information is well used to provide an interesting analytical narrative. The book is aimed at scholars and students of political science, sociology and economics. Researchers and students interested in human resource management and public sector management may also find it a useful source of information."

by Hanyu Xiao,City University of Hong Kong
From journal:
Journal of Chinese Political Science, April 2016

"This book is the first English-language book analyzing civil-service pay in China, and contributes greatly to our understanding of how civil-service pay has changed over time."

"This book is the first English-language book analyzing civil-service pay in China, and contributes greatly to our understanding of how civil-service pay has changed over time."

"This book will be of interest for scholars studying civil-service pay, governance and anti-corruption in China. Moreover, practitioners and policymakers should consider the suggestions in thisbookfor future civil-service payreform."

by Fang Lee Cooke, Monash University, Australia
From journal:
China Information 30(1)

"(…) on the whole the book is well researched and well written. Statistical information is well used to provide an interesting analytical narrative. The book is aimed at scholars and students of political science, sociology and economics.

"(…) on the whole the book is well researched and well written. Statistical information is well used to provide an interesting analytical narrative. The book is aimed at scholars and students of political science, sociology and economics. Researchers and students interested in human resource management and public sector management may also find it a useful source of information."

by Yongjing Zhang, University of Ottawa
From journal:
Political Studies Review 14 (1), 2016

 This interesting book focuses on a greatly under-explored topic of how the Chinese central government governs civil service pay.

 This interesting book focuses on a greatly under-explored topic of how the Chinese central government governs civil service pay. The author’s fundamental arguments are that although central government has tried four waves of civil service pay reform since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China still has not found a strong solution to align cadres’ motives to better public services and curb over-corruption within the complexities of central-local relations. …

The major contribution of Wu’s work is to enrich governance theory with experience from China and to deepen our understanding of endogenous tensions within China’s public administration system. It is more about theoretical application than theoretical innovation, and it displays a rich collection of empirical evidence and statistical data to support its theoretical arguments.

by Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, Copenhagen Business School
From journal:
The China Journal, No. 75, 2015

While there are an increasing number of studies on the Chinese civil service system, important aspects of this system have not yet been subject to close investigation. This includes civil servants’ salaries and non-monetary compensation. Alfred Wu remedies this lacuna by providing an overview of civil service pay in the People’s Republic of China past and present.

While there are an increasing number of studies on the Chinese civil service system, important aspects of this system have not yet been subject to close investigation. This includes civil servants’ salaries and non-monetary compensation. Alfred Wu remedies this lacuna by providing an overview of civil service pay in the People’s Republic of China past and present. … I do not hesitate to recommend Alfred Wu’s much needed study. The book contains a wealth of factual information on the various civil service pay regimes in China and is very useful for anyone interested in how the civil servants, the backbone of Chinese government, are managed and remunerated.

by Guang Zhang, School of Public Management, Xiamen University
From journal:
Journal of Public Administration, 5, 2015

Civil service pay is not only a public economics topic related to public personnel and financial management, but also a controversial, highly sensitive subject deserving public debate. China is no exception. The academics (in China) have not accorded enough attention to this important public administration topic. … Wu’s book appears to fill in the gap.

Civil service pay is not only a public economics topic related to public personnel and financial management, but also a controversial, highly sensitive subject deserving public debate. China is no exception. The academics (in China) have not accorded enough attention to this important public administration topic. … Wu’s book appears to fill in the gap.

(Translated from the Chinese)

by Joseph Yu-Shek Cheng, Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong
From journal:
Journal of Comparative Asian Development, 14(3), 2015

Wu’s research not only explores human resources management in the Chinese government, but also the politics of contemporary China. … this should be an interesting book for scholars working on public administration in China because civil service pay is a neglected subject area and the author’s fieldwork offers valuable data.

Wu’s research not only explores human resources management in the Chinese government, but also the politics of contemporary China. … this should be an interesting book for scholars working on public administration in China because civil service pay is a neglected subject area and the author’s fieldwork offers valuable data.

by Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard, Copenhagen Business School
From journal:
THE CHINA JOURNAL , No. 75

"I do not hesitate to recommend Alfred Wu’s much needed study. The book contains a wealth of factual information on the various civil service pay regimes in China and is very useful for anyone interested in how the civil servants, the backbone of Chinese government, are managed and remunerated."

"I do not hesitate to recommend Alfred Wu’s much needed study. The book contains a wealth of factual information on the various civil service pay regimes in China and is very useful for anyone interested in how the civil servants, the backbone of Chinese government, are managed and remunerated."

by Guang Zhang, School of Public Management, Xiamen University, China
From journal:
Journal of Public Administration (in Chinese), 5, 2015.

"Civil service pay is not only a public economics topic related to public personnel and financial management, but also a controversial, highly sensitive subject deserving public debate. China is no exception. The academics (in China) have not accorded enough attention to this important public administration topic (…) Wu’s book appears to fill in the gap"

"Civil service pay is not only a public economics topic related to public personnel and financial management, but also a controversial, highly sensitive subject deserving public debate. China is no exception. The academics (in China) have not accorded enough attention to this important public administration topic (…) Wu’s book appears to fill in the gap"

by Joseph Yu-Shek CHENG, Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong, China
From journal:
Journal of Comparative Asian Development, 14(3), 2015.

"Wu’s research not only explores human resources management in the Chinese government, but also the politics of contemporary China…. this should be an interesting book for scholars working on public administration in China because civil service pay is a neglected subject area and the author’s fieldwork offers valuable data"

"Wu’s research not only explores human resources management in the Chinese government, but also the politics of contemporary China…. this should be an interesting book for scholars working on public administration in China because civil service pay is a neglected subject area and the author’s fieldwork offers valuable data"

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