Pension Policy and Governmentality in China: manufacturing public compliance

Hosted by LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub, School of Public Policy and LSE Press

Online and in-person public event (Marshall Bulding, 2nd Floor, Room MAR2.10)


Dr Carrie Friese

Dr Carrie Friese

Associate Professor in Sociology

Dr Yan Wang

Dr Yan Wang

Research Fellow at LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub

Professor Noam Yuchtman

Professor Noam Yuchtman

Professor of Managerial Economics and Strategy


Professor Patrick Dunleavy

Professor Patrick Dunleavy

Head of LSE Press

Join us for the launch of Yan Wang's book Pension Policy and Governmentality in China: Manufacturing public compliance.

Rapid economic growth is often disruptive. It can threaten social relations and undermine the ideologies of incumbent regimes. However, the Chinese Communist Party has successfully led a major social and economic transformation over forty years, without yet encountering fundamental challenges to subvert its rule. How the Chinese government has done this is a crucial question for political sociology. The logics of China’s governmentality have succeeded in manufacturing compliance from the governed while acting radically to advance the state’s priorities for growth.

In her book, Yan Wang analyses the detailed trajectories, rationale, and effects of China’s pension reforms. Using multiple methods, including institutional analysis of resource allocation in the pension schemes and quantitative text analysis of knowledge construction in official discourse, the book estimates the effects of key policy instruments on public opinion about pension responsibility and political trust. An analysis of qualitative evidence illuminates why ‘falsified compliance’ might exist in China’s society and the mechanisms that may lie behind it.

The Chinese state’s strategy to generate public compliance is hybrid, organic, and dynamic. The state rules society by its customised governance design and constant adjustments. Public compliance is not only acquired through ‘buying off’ the public with governmental performance and targeted allocation of benefits, but is also manufactured through achieving cultural changes and new ideological foundations for general legitimation. Policy experimentation, propaganda, and knowledge construction are all used to shape public expectations and to justify state rule.

An original contribution to the study of legitimation in modern states, this book demonstrates how, when active counter-conduct is confined, individuals may choose cognitive rebellion and falsify their public compliance.

Meet our speakers and chair

Carrie Friese is Associate Professor in Sociology at LSE. Her research is in medical sociology and science and technology studies, with a focus on reproduction across humans and animals. She has completed a five-year Wellcome Trust New Investigator Award grant for the project Care as Science: The Role of Animal Husbandry in Translational Medicine that uses quantitative and qualitative research methods to ask why scientists understand quality animal care as a scientific priority and how this shapes their work.

Yan Wang is s a Research Fellow at School of Public Policy at the LSE and will join the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University as a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Digital Sociology in Jan 2023. Her research seeks to understand the issues of state legitimacy and social policy, public opinion, and political communication. She is especially interested in how actors’ agency shapes state governmentality and the realisation of the public’s social rights, and how and why public opinion changes during the state-society interactions.

Noam Yuchtman is Professor of Managerial Economics and Strategy at LSE Department of Management. He joined LSE as Professor in 2019, having been awarded a British Academy Global Professorship. In addition to his position at LSE, Noam is a co-editor of Economica and serves on the editorial boards of the Review of Economic Studies, the Economic Journal, and the Journal of Economic History.

Patrick Dunleavy (chair) is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at LSE. He was Professor in the Department of Government at LSE from 1989-2020, having previously  moved to the School from Nuffield College and the Open University in 1979. He is now Emeritus Professor, and Editor-in-Chief for LSE Press since autumn 2020. Patrick is a (founding) fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and a Fellow of the British Academy.

More about this event

The book is available for free from LSE's open access publishing platform, LSE Press. You can access and download it here.

LSE-Fudan Global Public Policy Hub is a joint centre for research, collaboration and activities between LSE and Fudan University. The Hub supports collaborative research on global public policy, fosters multi-disciplinary cooperation and enhances communication between Fudan and LSE to generate research of global impact. It is represented at the LSE by the 

The LSE School of Public Policy (@LSEPublicPolicy) equips you with the skills and ideas to transform people and societies. It is an international community where ideas and practice meet. Their approach creates professionals with the ability to analyse, understand and resolve the challenges of contemporary governance.

Launched in May 2018, LSE Press (@LSEPress) supports the promotion of high-quality social science research and enables wide public access through the use of open, digital publication methods. We publish books and journals and encourage and facilitate innovative and experimental publications.

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