In recent years, the central government encourages local governments to innovate the system for social organization management propitious to the development of social organizations, but social organizations are double-edged, which can both alleviate the social management pressure of local governments and challenge their authority. Therefore, local governments have to implement the strategy of differential control for managing social organizations. The theory of differential control is an important paradigm for explaining the government-society relationship in China, as it provides a theoretical framework for understanding local governments’ behavioral logic of developing social organizations, but local governments’ specific application and change of the strategy about differential control still need to be further explored. Based on the above observation, by collecting the panel data of 312 prefecture-level cities of China in 2008-2014, we have discovered that local governments, on the whole, have adopted the development strategy of “developing quantity and restraining capability.” They give priority to developing social organizations promoting economic development and social service, but implement strict control over environmental, legal, and international foreign-related organizations affecting the realization of economic goals or political stability. With a more developed economy and better fiscal revenues, a more lenient environment is given to social organizations by local governments, and social organizations are more developed. But the control over environmental social organizations does not change with the changes of economic development or fiscal revenues. This study not only expands the theory of differential control and provides a new understanding of the relations between government and social organizations, but also reveals local governments’ behavioral logic of developing social organizations, which also provides a new perspective for understanding local governments’ behaviors in developing social organizations.
KangXiaoguang and HanHeng, “Administrative Absorption of Society: A Further Probe into the State-Society Relationship in Chinese Mainland,”Social Sciences in China: English Version28.2 (2007): 116-128.
LiChunxia, et al., “System Embedment, Organizational Response and the Involution of Public Services: An Empirical Study of the Purchase of Social Organization Services by the Beijing Municipal Government,”Guizhou Social Sciences12 (2012): 130-132.
QinHongyuan and FuJianjun, “Logics, Process and Influence of Local Governments’ Fostering of Social Organizations from the Perspective of Corporatism: A Case Study of the Social Organization Development Practice in W Neighborhood of Chengdu,”Socialism Studies6 (2013): 65-69.
Salamon, Lester M., Helmut K.Anheier, ReginaList, StefanToepler, and S. WojciechSokolowski, Global Civil Society: Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector, trans. ChenYimeiet al. (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2007), 20-55.
SunFafeng, “Selective Support and Selective Control: New Developments in the Reform of the Social Organization Management System of China,”The Journal of Shanghai Administration Institute5 (2015): 95-103.
TangRui and LiuHongqin, “From gdp Tournament to Binary Competition: the Logics of Behavioral Changes of Local Governments in China: An Empirical Study Based on Chinese Provincial Panel Data in 1998-2006,”Journal of Public Management1 (2012): 9-15.
WangXiangmin, “Differential Governance and System Expansion: Social Organization Governance in Contemporary China,”The Journal of the East China Normal University (Philosophy and Social Sciences)5 (2014): 87-96.
XieFei, “Local Governments’ Political Embedment of Social Organization Fostering: An Empirical Study Based on the Guangzhou Municipal Government Level,”The Journal of Guangzhou University: Social Sciences6 (2015): 31-36.
ZhuJian’gang and ChenAnna, “The Relationship between Embedded Professional Social Work and Neighborhood Authority: A Case Study of a Government Purchase Service Project,”Study of Sociology1 (2013): 43-63.