Introduction to the special issue

Public Administration and Policy: An Asia-Pacific Journal

ISSN: 2517-679X

Article publication date: 29 April 2021

Issue publication date: 17 May 2021



(2021), "Introduction to the special issue", Public Administration and Policy: An Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 4-6.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Carlos W.H. Lo and Ning Liu


Published in Public Administration and Policy. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at

In the past two decades, there have been growing complexities in regulatory governance, owing much to the rapid difficulty of regulatory regimes from industrialized countries to developing economies and the ever-expanding scope of regulation in different sectors. In this special issue, articles discuss the regulatory approaches, frameworks, and environment under various themes and topics. In term of regulatory approaches, a focus on national styles has gradually shifted to a focus on local levels, all the way down to street-level regulations. Together with the emergence of ideas of value co-creation, more complexities have been added to existing dialogues between the legalistic and co-operative/voluntary paradigms. As for compliance strategies, regulated entities, particularly enterprises, have moved from a preoccupation with the choice between compliance and evasion to considering beyond compliance as part of broader strategies for gaining competitive advantages and business innovation. As more developing and emerging countries have adopted their own regulatory regimes under diverse national circumstances, new theoretical frameworks are needed to account for how cross-national variations affect emerging issues in regulatory governance.

Besides complexities, new sectors (e.g., information technology and the internet) have emerged that call for some forms of government or self-initiated regulation. These newly emergent sectors often involve problems that are distinctly different from those in the traditional sectors (e.g., environmental, education, and financial). Even within the traditional sectors, changes have been emerging given, for example, the rise of new technologies. Adding to these nation-based complexities is the globalization of regulatory governance, as the international community has steadily developed into a single regulatory regime, giving rise to the need to reconcile the regulatory norms in different parts of the world. These developments have generated new excitement and revised agenda to existing regulatory research with greater demand for both theoretical advancement and empirical-based problem-solving.

It was under the above-mentioned background that the Department of Government and Public Administration and the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong jointly organized the “International Conference on Unpacking the Complexity of Regulatory Governance in a Globalizing World” in Hong Kong with support from the Standing Group on regulatory governance of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) between 4-6 July 2019. This conference featured academic debates in key regulation and compliance issues with global significance. In particular, it has inspired creative thinking to examine the complexity of regulatory regimes in emerging economies and developed countries from a comparative perspective.

The Hong Kong Public Administration Association took the opportunity of this academic conference to prepare this special issue on Regulatory Governance in a Globalizing World in cooperation with the conference organizers. A total of five articles are included for the anatomy of the complexity of regulatory, which fall into three specific topics of regional regulatory governance, emerging sectors for regulation, and regulatory challenges for the Global South.

Colin Scott, in his article “Managing higher education for a changing regulatory environment”, which was based on his illuminating keynote speech to the Conference, addresses the changing regulatory environments of higher education across eight OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) states. The study casts a spotlight on the significant evidence of meta-regulatory approaches to regulating universities, and how universities could use autonomy to manage the changing environment.

Lilach Litor’s piece “Regulating corporate social responsibility practices of adopting codes of conduct through criminal law” takes on the emerging topic on the legal regulation CSR to examine the interplay of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its regulatory approaches regarding the adoption of codes of conduct, using case studies of the jurisprudence of Israel and the United States.

Valter Shuenquener de Ararujo in his article “The four pillars for the preservation of the regulatory agencies’ technical impartiality in Brazil” investigates how to ensure regulatory agencies’ autonomy and technical impartiality in Brazil. Four structural pillars were highlighted, including the legal rule of fixed-term in office, the principle of lesser control intensity of the agency acts, the prohibition of contingency of its budgetary resources, and the prohibition of agency powers suppression.

Michael Freitas Mohallem’s article “Electoral corruption unfolded by Operation Car Wash and political rights in Brazil” adopts a legislative perspective to explore the impact of corruption on citizens’ political rights to participate in public affairs and to vote in authentic elections. The study analyzes the complex structure of illegal campaign financing in Brazil with the Operation Car Wash case, the most significant corruption in Brazil’s history.

Laura Panadès-Estruch in her article “Public-Private Partnerships in transport: a critical assessment of the Caribbean” studies the contextualized Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the Caribbean subregion. The study performed a critical assessment of the selected PPP transportation projects based on five key aspects: the type of arrangement used, the regulatory framework, the financial implications of PPPs, the accountability mechanisms, and miscellaneous data.

Individually these five articles have produced important findings in respective regulatory issues with a distinct theoretical approach and an adequate research method. Altogether, they have provided a glimpse of the growing dynamic of the regulatory world in terms of changing regulatory environments, emerging regulatory areas, and diverse contextual settings. It is our aspiration to make use of this special issue to inspire original ideas and innovative methodologies in the advancement of regulatory governance research in both theoretical and empirical terms.

The last two articles address a timely issue of the coronavirus pandemic in China and Indonesia. Eddie Yu in his article “An analysis of China’s strategies in combating the coronavirus pandemic with the 3H framework” attempts to theorize about China’s strategy in combating the coronavirus pandemic with the 3H (Heart-Head-Hand) framework. Its findings show that 3H framework distinguishes the effectiveness of a country’s public health strategies and practice for combating the pandemic. The framework conceptualized a holistic management approach and its assumptions have been initially tested with this pandemic case.

The last article by Ali Roziqin, Syasya Y.F. Mas’udi and Iradhad T. Sihidi “An analysis of Indonesian government policies against COVID-19” discusses Indonesian government policies in dealing with COVID-19. It found that the Indonesian government responded slowly at the beginning of its spread in March 2020. Moreover, policies such as physical distancing, large-scale social restriction and social safety net will only work if the society follows them. It suggests that the policymakers should pay more attention to the society’s characteristics as well as the mitigation system as a preventive measure and risk management to make clear policy in this society.

Carlos W.H. Lo

Ning Liu

Guest Editors

About the Guest Editors

Carlos W.H. Lo is Professor and Head of the Department of Government and Public Administration and concurrently the Director of Centre for Business Sustainability at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His main research interests are in the areas of law and government, environmental management, public sector management, and corporate social and environmental responsibility, within the contexts of China and Hong Kong. Carlos W.H. Lo is the corresponding author and can be contacted at:

Ning Liu is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy at the City University of Hong Kong. She received her Ph.D. from the Faculty of Business, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research focuses on government-business relations, regulation and compliance, and public policy.


We thank for the funding support from the Department of Government and Public Administration at The Chinese University of Hong Kong for preparing this Special Issue on Regulatory Governance in a Globalizing World.

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