Dr Hui (Steven) Feng, Research Fellow with the Griffith Asia Institute and School of Governmentand International Relations member has been awarded the Political Studies journal Harrison Prizeat 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 ofQueensland) for their paper, ‘How Proximate and “Meta-institutional” Contexts Shape InstitutionalChange: 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, wasrecognised by the judges of the annual Harrison Prize for both its advancement of institutionaltheory and its original argument. The panel of judges deemed the paper superior in the field andcommended it on its effectiveness in addressing the key question it sought to explore and forexpertly applying ‘an innovative theoretical framework that evidently has broader application’. As atheoretical exemplar, the panel also found that the paper had a strong practical outcome inadvancing the understanding of political decision-making processes as they develop in complexenvironments.

Authors’ Note on the Paper:

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

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