Theory on the strategic use of knowledge in planning large infrastructure projects is comparatively well-developed in the fields of public policy and urban/transport planning for Western democracies. But how policymakers make use of knowledge and what position policy analysts hold in non-Western countries still remains largely unknown territory in the literature. This article begins to explore this topic by studying two urban transport projects in the Chinese city of Dalian. Based on empirical evidence, the article concludes with a number of preliminary but notable differences between Western countries and China in terms of the administrative mechanisms underlying the strategic use of knowledge in policymaking. We found that Chinese institutional incentives with regard to cadre evaluation and promotion channels largely constitute the motivation of politicians to use knowledge strategically. Additionally, the wider social and administrative cultures in China, including a command-and-control tradition and a high level of power distance create a basis for the strategic use of information as well as the manipulation of analytical data.

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Journal of Urban Technology

Mu, R, Mouter, N, & de Jong, M. (2016). Strategic Use of Analytical Information in Transport Planning in China: How Is It Different from Western Democracies?. Journal of Urban Technology, 23(2), 3–22. doi:10.1080/10630732.2015.1102424