Welfare contracting with Chinese socialist characteristics: Experience of the Bohai Bay Economic Rim, Northern China

Ka Ho MOK, Zhuoyi WEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study is set out against the broader socio-political economy context, in which China searches for better social governance to improve service delivery catering to the soaring demand on social care in the Bohai Bay Economic Rim (BBER). BBER is one of China's industrial bases and currently an emerging economic powerhouse in Northern China, rivalling the Pearl River Delta in the south and Yangtze River Delta in the east. On the bases of policy reviews and in-depth interviews with government officials, social welfare experts, and managers and social workers of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), this research contributes to an improved understanding of social governance reforms in China through the welfare contracting, development trends and implementation challenges and changing state–NGO relationships. Empirical data have shown that the success of governance reforms in the BBER area depends heavily on personal relationships rather than organisational reforms. Local officials have successfully maintained strong discretion and intervention through a top-down and authoritarian approach in welfare contracting, whilst they allocated resources to a circle of acquaintances in the manner of market exchange but without the substance of competition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)941-955
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Policy & Administration
Issue number6
Early online date16 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Research Grants Council of the HKSAR Government for offering funding support for the present research project (Project Number: GRF LU 13673016). The authors are also grateful to the reviewers for their beneficial comments and peer review comments from participants of the Forum on Welfare State and Social Policy organised by Sun Yat‐sen University in Guangzhou, China, March 21st, 2021.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • changing state-NGO relationships
  • China's welfare state development
  • contracting out
  • social governance
  • social service delivery


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