Strategic Use of Analytical Information in Transport Planning in China: How Is It Different from Western Democracies?

Rui Mu*, Niek Mouter, Martin de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
161 Downloads (Pure)


Theory on the strategic use of knowledge in planning large infrastructure projects is comparatively well-developed in the fields of public policy and urban/transport planning for Western democracies. But how policymakers make use of knowledge and what position policy analysts hold in non-Western countries still remains largely unknown territory in the literature. This article begins to explore this topic by studying two urban transport projects in the Chinese city of Dalian. Based on empirical evidence, the article concludes with a number of preliminary but notable differences between Western countries and China in terms of the administrative mechanisms underlying the strategic use of knowledge in policymaking. We found that Chinese institutional incentives with regard to cadre evaluation and promotion channels largely constitute the motivation of politicians to use knowledge strategically. Additionally, the wider social and administrative cultures in China, including a command-and-control tradition and a high level of power distance create a basis for the strategic use of information as well as the manipulation of analytical data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Urban Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • China
  • comparative policy analysis
  • Dalian
  • strategic use of knowledge
  • transport planning


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