PhD thesis

During my doctoral studies at EHESS, Paris, I conducted research on development policies in China’s frontier regions. I completed a Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘Les politiques de développement régional d’une zone périphérique chinoise, le cas de la province de Hainan’ (in English: Regional development policies in a Chinese peripheral region: the case of Hainan province) under the supervision of Prof. François Gipouloux. In my dissertation, I study the effectiveness of the development policies implemented in Hainan a Chinese peripheral province, and their impacts on central-local relations.

I defended my Ph.D. thesis on December 18, 2014 at EHESS, Paris.  I am very grateful to the members of my doctoral committee, Prof. François Gipouloux (CNRS), Prof. Athar Hussain (LSE), Prof. Marie-Vic Ozouf Marignier (EHESS) and  Prof. Xavier Richet (Université Paris III).

My Ph. D. dissertation is available online and can be downloaded using the link below its description.


China suffers from strong regional inequalities in terms of development. To fight against this imbalance, the central government has launched several regional campaigns. In spite of these efforts, regional inequalities persist. This thesis aims to study the regional development of one of China’s peripheral regions in the context of transition. Long marginalized, policies have now been implemented in Hainan to transform the province into an international tourism destination by 2020. This study focuses on the relations between the different actors involved in this plan, and reveals that these regional policies will not put an end to the peripheral status of Hainan. The province is no longer isolated thanks to heavy investment in infrastructure, but these measures have increased the influence of the central government on the island, and Hainan remains a highly strategic frontier region in the eyes of Beijing. This study also questions the role of state-owned enterprises in the implementation of this plan and shows that the collusion between government and companies prevent the plan’s success because of conflicts of interests. These policies have weakened the island’s economy by increasing its dependence on real estate, and have increased inequality between communities. By focusing on infrastructure and neglecting governance and social issues, China’s regional development plans are not achieving their goals – Hainan province is still not a main international destination –, and are not putting an end to regional inequalities.

My Ph.D. dissertation is available here (5.8 Mo).