Chapter 11 – Area-based competition and awards as a motivation tool for public service provision: The experience of Xining, China

Bingqin Li and Yongmei Zhang[1]


We examine the role of area-based competitions and awards in motivating local government investment in, and provision of, public services. We compare these policy tools with other motivation models such as consumer choice and targeting/benchmarking. We argue that area-based competition is particularly useful in two aspects: motivating local authorities, and enhancing public awareness. It is especially useful in policy areas related to improving the public environment. The experience of China in organising competition projects to improve public hygiene provides an example of how this can be achieved. A case study of Xining City, Qinghai Province is used to illustrate the roles and limitations of the approach.


The authors of this paper would like to thank Mr. Yongji Zhang from the Office of Qinghai Provincial Government for his general support during our fieldwork.


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