Institutional interaction and decision making in China's rural development

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Helmke and Levitsky's (2004) institutional adaptation model is adopted in this study to examine institutional interactions between two formal institutions in rural China: one involves upper-level governments' decision making in rural China, representing a primary top-down institution; the other consists of village committees in rural areas, an assisting bottom-up institution. Their interactions explain the final decisions and implementations related to rural development and exemplify rural governance. Although institutional theory has been commonly applied in Western countries and cases, its application in China is rare. This study considers this theory's suitability for exploring rural governance in China based on a case of rural tourism development. Findings show that four types of institutional adaptation, namely complementary, substitutive, accommodating, and competing adaptation, exist between the chosen two formal institutions. Results offer insight for subsequent research on rural governance and rural tourism development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Bottom-up institution
  • Helmke and Levitsky (2004)
  • Institutional interaction
  • Rural China
  • Rural governance
  • Top-down institution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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