Decision-Making and Risk Sources: Key to Source Governance for Social Stability

  • Demi Zhu
  • Shuai CaoEmail author
Original Article


Conflict-sensitive social impact assessment (CSSIA) is to predict and analyze social risks triggered by public decision-making to realize source governance. Based on decision-making theories, this paper aims to explore the relationship between decision-making and risk source. Based on the field research of the policy-making process in contemporary China, this paper elaborates on the relationship between decision-making and risk accumulation in five aspects: the bounded rationality of decision makers, the deformation of decision structure, the fragmentation of decision-making process, the unduly frequency of policy change, and the excessively big size of policy gap. Promoting the transformation of the decision-making process is the key to dealing with the large-scale and high-risk social instability in the socioeconomic transition period. In the framework of developing countries, further research is needed to delve into the institutional arrangement of public decision-making to guarantee a well-ordered society. In the practices of CSSIA, the focus should not be simply put on the prediction and assessment of risks and emergency response, but more importantly on the analysis of contributing factors of risk evolution. This paper reveals that social instability occurs when the balance of social interests is broken and its root lies in the institutional arrangement of public decision-making. Therefore, promoting the transformation of decision-making system is the gist of CSSIA in the Chinese context and it can help make the source governance come true.


Risk sources Decision-making Policy change Policy gap Conflict-sensitive social impact assessment (CSSIA) 


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Copyright information

© Fudan University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Comparative Politics, School of International and Public AffairsShanghai Jiaotong UniversityShanghaiChina

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