Policy durability of Circular Economy in China: A process analysis of policy translation

Wenting Jiao*, Frank Boons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In spite of many observations that governmental policy exerts significant influence on the development of Sustainable Industrial Clusters (SIC), such policy dynamics have not been systemically investigated, and policy durability as one of its important dimensions has been neglected thus far. This study aims to reveal the processes that are needed to bring about policy durability, in order to assess its impact on the successful stimulation of SIC. Building on previous work, we conceptualize policy durability as the result of an active translation process, during which four key elements of policy (actors, ideas, practices and objects) are assembled and reassembled over time. More specifically, we introduce a further analytical step through examining the materialization of policy ideas into physical objects. The case of the Chinese Circular Economy (CE) policy is presented here for the first time as a translation process that evolves from being dominated by a single agency engaged in experimental implementation to centralized cooperation implementation with a mixture of experimental and administrative features. This process features a continuous interaction of primary policy translators, their central interpretations, and associated governmental selection patterns of industrial parks. During this process, we find a progressively better fitness with the context, while establishing conservative forces against policy undermining. In this way, the Chinese CE policy has been made durable. (C) 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-24
JournalResources Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


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