Evaluating Experimental Policymaking: Lessons from China's Rural Health Reforms
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In recent years, much attention has been paid to the Chinese government’s experimental approach to developing policy, but few detailed evaluations of the effectiveness of the approach exist. The development of a rural health insurance system in China provides a test case to examine how experimental policy development can work in social and health policy. Faced with the need for multiple simultaneous reforms, which interact in complex ways, policy experimentation may be a way to ‘implement the un-implementable’ – even in contexts of low and varying implementation capacity. But it must be managed well, and consideration must be given to feedback, policy coordination, and capacity development.