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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Domestic vs. international: the real cause behind China's environmental policies Li, Yongzheng


The current literature suggests that both domestic and international factors influence environmental policies. However, I argue that in China, domestic factors are more important than international factors in the process of domestic policy initiation and policy implementation. Domestic factors may also play a significant role in shaping policies that are driven by climate concerns. Process tracing is employed to reveal in what contexts domestic factors are more critical than international factors and why they are the real causes behind many environmental policies. Furthermore, I show that the concern of social instability may be the critical reason behind the initiation and implementation of China’s environmental policies. I use four distinct environmental policies in this article to bolster my argument. I also propose a conjoint experimental survey design which may help disintegrate the general concept of domestic and international factors and tell people which specific factor is more important in forming a new environmental policy and shaping the policy implementation. The finding of this paper bridges the gap in understanding the drivers behind China’s environmental policies and contributes to the theory building in environmental politics.

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