Policy and Public Preferences Regarding the University Enrollment Quotas System across Chinese Provinces
The University Enrollment Quota Policy in China determines the proportion of Chinese University Entrance Exam (known colloquially in China as the Gaokao) takers in each province that is admitted to the country’s universities each year. This policy strongly favors Gaokao takers from just eight provinces, while those from the other 23 provinces have no quota privilege. In this article, we find evidence that this policy negatively affects the public’s preferences regarding the university enrollment quotas policy after examining the relationship between changes in university enrollment quotas and public preference in 23 Chinese provinces from 2011 through 2016. This relationship is consistent with what is predicted by the “thermostatic” responsiveness model, which has only been tested in democracies until now. We also test whether government policy is responsive to public preferences and find that government policy is not responsive to the general public in this issue domain. Our findings support the argument for deep reform of the university enrollment quota policy to address the core disparities in quotas across provinces and improve equal access to higher education in China.
Keywordsuniversity enrollment quotas policy public responsiveness equal rights in higher education China
National Planning Office of Philosophy and Social Science from China (15BZZ072).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Cai, Y. (2010) Collective resistance in China: why popular protests succeed or fail, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- China Internet Network Information Center. (2011) Statistical Report on Internet Development in China. Retrieved June 1, 2017, from http://www1.cnnic.cn/IDR/ReportDownloads/201302/P020130221391269963814.pdf.
- China Internet Network Information Center. (2017) Statistical Report on Internet Development in China. Retrieved May 5, 2018, from http://www1.cnnic.cn/IDR/ReportDownloads/201302/P020130221391269963814.pdf.
- Ding, X. (2014) ‘Is it hard to dissuade the overleaping petitioners?’ Henan Daily, 13 November.Google Scholar
- Erikson, R. S., Stimson, J. A. and Mackuen, M. (2002) The macro polity, New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Jones, B. D. and Baumgartner, F. R. (2005) The politics of attention, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- McCombs, M. (2004) Setting the agenda: the mass media and public opinion, Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Qin, Q. and Xu, Y. (2010) ‘Quota and equity: Chinese Gaokao enrollment policy’, Law Review (Chinese Journal) 161(3): 12–18.Google Scholar
- Quadagno, J. (1988) ‘From old-age assistance to supplemental security income: the political economy of relief in the south, 1935–1972’, in M. Weir, A.A. Orloff and T. Skocpol (eds.) The politics of social policy in the United States, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, pp. 235–263.Google Scholar
- Tang, W. (2005) Public opinion and political change in China, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wlezien, C. and Soroka, S. (2007) ‘The relationship between public opinion and public policy’ in Russell Dalton and Hans-Dieter Klingemann (eds.) Oxford handbook of political behavior, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 799-817.Google Scholar
- Wlezien, C. and Soroka, S. (2016) ‘Public opinion and public policy’, in J. C. Courtney and D. E. Smith (eds.) The Oxford handbook of canadian politics, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Published online 1 April. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.74