Dr Hui Feng, Research Fellow with the Griffith Asia Institute and School of Government and International Relations member has been awarded the Political Studies journal Harrison Prize at the annual Political Studies Association Annual Conference in Sheffield, England on 31 March.

The Harrison Prize 2014 was won by Dr Feng, and co-author Professor Stephen Bell (University of Queensland) for their paper, ‘How Proximate and “Meta-institutional” Contexts Shape Institutional Change: Explaining the Rise of the People’s Bank of China’.

The award winning paper, published in volume 62, issue 1 of Political Studies in March 2014, was recognised by the judges of the annual Harrison Prize for both its advancement of institutional theory and its original argument. The panel of judges deemed the paper superior in the field and commended it on its effectiveness in addressing the key question it sought to explore and for expertly applying ‘an innovative theoretical framework that evidently has broader application’. As a theoretical exemplar, the panel also found that the paper had a strong practical outcome in advancing the understanding of political decision-making processes as they develop in complex environments.

Authors’ Note on the Paper:

The paper uses historical institutionalist (HI) theory to explain institutional change. The case is the rising authority of the People’s Bank of China (PBC) amidst the steep hierarchy of the Chinese party state. HI theory, we argue, needs to expand the scope of relevant contexts that constrain and enable the behaviour of institutionally-situated agents. In this paper we argue that the proximate institutional context of the PBC was important, but we also cast the net more broadly and argue that wider ideational, policy and power contexts also empowered agents within the PBC and saw their authority increase over time.

To read more about the award, download the latest edition of the PSA News [PDF, 20MB].