Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 75 ›› Issue (8): 1667-1679.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202008008

• Regional and Rural Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Game of government subjects of eco-compensation in the Xin'an River basin based on the politics of scale

REN Yisheng1(), LU Lin2(), YU Hu3, ZHU Daocai4   

  1. 1. School of Economics and Management, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241002, Anhui, China
    2. School of Geography and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241002, Anhui, China
    3. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. Research Center for Urban and County, Anhui University of Finance and Economics, Bengbu 233030, Anhui, China
  • Received:2018-10-11 Revised:2020-07-08 Online:2020-08-25 Published:2020-10-25
  • Contact: LU Lin;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41930644)


Watershed eco-compensation is a significant economic, social and environmental policy for cross-regional ecological governance and natural region protection in China. As a typical geography research proposition, it involves the difference and coordination of the regional stakeholders' rights, regional ecological coordinated development and cooperation model construction. This paper introduced the institutional stickiness into the politics of scale theory, analyzed the game behavior of the government-led eco-compensation in the Xin'an River basin, and explored the game characteristics and game mechanisms of governments at all levels. The results imply that the game among the central government, provincial government, municipal government and other government departments have gone through three stages: competition, cooperation and competition-cooperation. Building a community of government interests can promote the construction of watershed eco-compensation, and the "moderate intervention" of the central government is the key to carry out trans-provincial watershed eco-compensation. There is obvious institutional stickiness in the transition process of watershed eco-compensation system from "vertical" model to "vertical-horizontal" model. Government subjects use institutional constraints such as policy innovation and social participation to dilute the institutional stickiness and reshape the watershed eco-compensation system. Scale transformation is the core mechanism to promote eco-compensation in the Xin'an River basin. Government subjects shape the discourse system of watershed eco-compensation by redistributing power and capital and embedding informal constraints, so as to promote the transition of eco-compensation in the study area from "strong state-weak society" to "strong state-strong society" structural model. The research results can provide the theoretical support for the construction of trans-regional watershed eco-compensation mechanism, and form the scientific basis for the evaluation and guidance of watershed eco-compensation practice in the coordinated and sustainable development of watershed economy and society.

Key words: eco-compensation, scale transformation, institutional stickiness, game strategy, Xin'an River basin