Bin Wong

Department of History

“Water Governance: Economic and Environmental Policy Making in China, E.U., and U.S.” (Research Proposal)

Research Proposal

Multi-Level Water Governance: Past Practices and Future Options in China, the EU, and the US

This preliminary comparison of Chinese, European and American experiences with multi-level water governance seeks to identify the institutional histories of water governance in these three parts of the world.  Through an understanding of the evolution of approaches to water governance in early modern times through the advent of modern science and engineering to our contemporary concerns with economy and environment, the identification of policy options appropriate to different situations embedded in distinct institutional settings can be highlighted.  I am particularly interested in understanding the different kinds of decision making undertaken in different parts of the world that draw upon distinct political traditions and understandings of creating economic benefits and allocating their costs.  What elements of these different approaches can be usefully applied in other parts of the world and to what effect is part of how future options in one region can be imagined by drawing upon past practices in others.


Bin Wong is a professor in the UCLA Department of History. His research has examined Chinese patterns of political, economic and social change both within Asian regional contexts and compared with more familiar European patterns, as part of the larger scholarly efforts underway to make world history speak to contemporary conditions of globalization. He is author or editor of several books, including China Transformed: Historical Change and the Limits of European Experience(1997) and Before and Beyond Divergence: The Politics of Economic Change in China and Europe(2011), along with more than ninety articles published in North America, East Asia and Europe.