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Title: The emergence of low carbon development in China and India : energy efficiency as a lens
Author: Ma, Yuge
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 6731
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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Low-carbon development (LCD) in China and India is crucial to global sustainability. As representatives of the emerging world, China and India have to tackle the LCD challenge at the same time as they address rapid urbanization, industrialization and globalization, making this process an unprecedented problem in policy and practice. My dissertation uses a comparative perspective to examine the unique institutional change processes of China and India's LCD during the period of late 1970s to the present day - through the lens of energy efficiency (EE). I argue that despite the manifold differences in political, economic and social contexts in contemporary China and India, the process of institutional development and change in EE reveals some similar mechanisms. I investigate the common mechanisms through a five-phase framework, and find: First, in both countries, EE was initially triggered by complicated interactions between international and domestic crises. Second, through processes of political negotiation led by various policy groups, EE was conceived and planned by each state to embody not one single objective but multiple political, economic and social development goals. Third, in order to realize EE, an organizational complex formed within an existing governance structure. Fourth, detailed policy processes (which both shape and are shaped by their institutional settings) emerged from the previous stages. Finally, EE institutions are stabilized jointly through legalization and the establishment of specialist technical subfields. I argue that the key mechanism of the five-phase process of institutional change is the bundling structure between EE organizations and the host governance structure. While in China the latter is the structure of economic governance, in India it is that of energy governance. These bundling structures imprinted multiple path-dependencies from the host governance structure to the newly developed EE regime, which in turn determine the long-term impact of EE on LCD in China and India. My original contributions are threefold. First, this project is one of the first scholarly attempts to systematically make sense of LCD in large and complex countries with fast economic growth by using the perspective of institutional change. Second, drawing on broad theoretical resources and through an interdisciplinary exploration, the thesis tries to construct a cause-effect, systemic, and political-economic theory of LCD in contemporary China and India. Finally, my comparative framework adds a systemic and nuanced methodological viewpoint to the emerging field of multidisciplinary China-India comparative scholarship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: China Oxford Scholarship Fund ; Royal Geographical Society ; Brooking Institute Ford Fellowship ; Wolfson College ; University of Oxford ; Aspen Institute India Avantha International Fellowship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political Economy ; Comparative Institutionalism ; China ; Area Studies ; Human geography ; India ; Low Carbon Development ; Institutional Change ; Energy Efficiency