Intergovernmental Cooperation in Cheng-Yu Economic Zone: A Case Study on Chinese Regional Collaboration under Synergy Governance

Article excerpt

Abstract

Intergovernmental collaboration is a universal trend with regional integration. What the local governments, as the public sector, should do to effectively respond to this trend, to strengthen the regional cooperation, transform local governmental functions to improve administrative performance and propel the regional development, a series of such questions, have aroused widespread concern. Cheng-Yu economic zone in the southwest of China, playing an important role in the economic development of this region, is faced with increased demand for addressing regional public issues and promoting regional synergic development. However the intergovernmental cooperation in Cheng-Yu economic zone is complex with fruits accompanied by problems, which makes the study of corresponding countermeasures feasible and necessary.

On the basis of synergy governance theory and other relevant theory on intergovernmental cooperation, the paper builds a theoretical framework to analyze regional intergovernmental collaboration. Then considering the current condition of collaboration between and among local governments in Cheng-Yu economic zone, the paper leads a case study, elaborating on the problems lying in the cooperation in this zone and the corresponding causes. Then with the internal and external environmental analyses, the paper designs a brief conception on propelling synergic development in this zone.

Key words: Intergovernmental cooperation; Chengyu economic zone; Synergy governance

INTRODUCTION

For the severity of problems or the limited capacity of a home organization or a single agency, cooperation across organizational boundaries becomes a preference of many managers, which gives birth to collaboration between governments and non-profit organizations, public sectors and the private, etc. However, with regional affairs or issues, for instance, regional emergencies, disasters, public service and local policy issue, etc. which having been confronted by local governments, increasing apace, intergovernmental collaboration attracts much attention from scholars, researchers and officials. McGuire and Silvia (2010) posit rapid changes in the scope and severity of the issues increase the extent of intergovernmental collaboration. And in practice, public problems in a certain region are increasingly decomposable into multijurisdictional solutions through which can effectively manage these problems, minimize negative externalities, and maximize economics of scale (LeRoux, Brandenburger, and Pandey, 2010). Meanwhile for the service transformation in governments, better intergovernmental collaboration will be needed to satisfy the citizens of the future (Dorris, 2007).

Although local governments choose to collaborate for different purposes, it is surely a truism that intergovernmental cooperation is necessary and advantageous. Thus debates on how to cooperate or collaborate emerge permeated with different perspectives. Quite early enough, Greg (1995) delineates an interest- based problem-solving process focusing on the application of a collaborative approach in a regional, interlocal context. Further studies on intergovernmental collaboration shed important light on interaction between parallel governments, and put forward the concept of "Inter-organizational Networks" whose existence relies on an interdependent organization (Mandell, 1988). Then Helen Sullivan and Chris Angonaff (1988) led a relevant literature review to summarize ten ways and methods for strengthening intergovernmental cooperation and management. Skelcher (2002) analyzed the revolution of trans-jurisdictional cooperation in English where problems in politics, operation and finance were perceived as hampering factors, and proposed contract, partnership and network to better respond to regional issues.

So is the case with intergovernmental cooperation in China that it gradually becomes frequent and mature both in depth and width. The Yangtze River Delta Economic Zone, located in east of China, through collaboration has achieved many fruits in economy and social development. …