• Room nr:2e-70
  • E-mail:m.stepan@vu.nl
  • Unit:faculteit der sociale wetenschappen ( afdeling bestuurswetenschap en politicologie )
  • Position:PhD student


  • Comparative Public Policy: Social Policy
  • Welfare State Research: special focus on China
  • EU-China relations


PhD Project

In search of a Chinese Welfare State

China’s reform era is in its early thirties. The decision for the opening-up of the country to foreign investment and marketization affected not only the national economy but had far reaching consequences for its institutional set-up and population as well.
Whereas the economic success of double digit growth rates stimulated by economic decentralization are uncontested and received admiration, reports on the rise in inequality and ecological degradation provide arguments to question the sustainability of China’s development path.

In my research project I want to deal with the issues of social policy and social welfare which are connected to the feature of inequality. With the end of the planned economy the majority of welfare state arrangements were rendered dysfunctional and market-conform models had to be developed.
Against the background of the Chinese Central government being strongly committed to advance and harmonize social welfare among the provinces at a time developed countries are concerned with cut-back, retrenchment and recalibration makes the research on the Chinese case even more relevant to be studied. 

Applying institutional approaches to do research on the process and output of social policy making, the time from the 1990s until the end of the first decade of the new millennium – including the international economical and financial crisis starting end of 2008 – will be covered. In including not only central but also the situation on local level as objects of research, the study shall provide a more complete picture of the background of the development trajectory and situation of a Welfare State in China.


Master of Science in Public Administration (International Public Management and Policy), Erasmus University Rotterdam,  The Netherlands
Bachelor of Arts in Political and Administrative Science, University of Konstanz, Germany

Studies abroad as part of degree programs:

University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, P.R. China
Institute d´Etudes Politiques, Université Pierre Mendès-France, Grenoble, France


Publications (Source: METIS VU)

Further information

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