This book examined the implementation and performance of the civil service reforms in China. It not only analyzed how the various reform initiatives affected the incentive structure and behavior of civil servants in the Chinese local government context, but also outlined how policy-makers tried to strengthen their political and administrative control over bureaucrats and assessed the level of success of these efforts. This book also discussed the possibility of using China’s reform experience as a model for selected developing countries in Asia, whose governments are facing the dilemma of how to recruit, retain and motivate skilled staff at an affordable cost. One of the objectives of the civil service reforms in China was to improve the quality of government employees so that the Chinese government could regulate and manage its increasingly complex economy and fast-changing society. Policy-makers also sought to strengthen their political and administrative control over local governments and bureaucrats. Their logic was that tight control of the bureaucracy would force local bureaucrats to improve their performance in public service delivery thus helping authorities to gain or regain their legitimacy and public support. Moreover, policy-makers believed that tighter control would help to combat corruption, which was a serious problem that had damaging effects on their legitimacy. Did the implementation of these reforms help to achieve these objectives? The principal-agent theory provided an insightful framework for the analysis. The framework enabled me to make predictions before assessing the efficacy of the civil service reforms in China. From the viewpoint of the principal-agent theory, it was vital to study the multiple principal-agent relationships that were embedded in the government in order to assess the institutional changes and their impacts. Civil servants in China served multiple principals, including their immediate superiors, the local government, the central government and the public. Under the institutional arrangement of the old cadre personnel management system, bureaucratic superiors had difficulty in obtaining full compliance from their subordinates due to the problem of information asymmetry and conflict of interest. In general, the cadre system suffered from serious defects. It was a highly centralized and undifferentiated approach to personnel management. The management system was outdated and overly simple to account for the

various power relations that existed within the bureaucracy. There were vague guidelines for promotion, performance appraisal and training. In addition, poor performance was tolerated while incentives for performance were insufficient to motivate cadres. The institutional design of the civil service reforms in China included elements that provided superiors solutions to mitigate these problems, which included measures to foster competition, reduce information asymmetries and align the incentives between superiors and their subordinates. However, policy design is very different from policy implementation. This book has presented a mixed picture about the effectiveness of civil service reforms. This chapter will first summarize the empirical findings. Second, several policy implications resulting from the analysis are identified. Subsequent to a discussion on the limitations, the chapter closes with further directions for research.