China's World-Class 2.0: Towards More Institutionalized and Participatory Policymaking?



China's quest to have world-class universities has entered a new phase since 2015, with the 'Double World-Class Project' replacing the '985 Project' and the '211 Project' launched in the 1990s. The transition from World-Class 1.0 to World-Class 2.0 provides a good window onto changes in China's policymaking. The prevailing literature has identifi ed broad trends such as institutionalization, decentralization and expanded participation. While this paper fi nds evidence in support of the prevailing literature, it also challenges the thesis of institutionalization, decentralization and expanded participation. The celebrated evolution from 'hierarchical governance' to 'network governance' or from 'consultation' to 'deliberation' in China's policymaking, however desirable, is premature—especially for multibillion, high-stakes policy initiatives such as the 'Double World-Class Project'.


policymaking, Double World-Class Project, institutionalization, decentralization, world-class universities

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