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Type: Thesis
Title: Forecasting China's future: experts and uncertainty.
Author: Irvine, David Roger
Issue Date: 2013
School/Discipline: School of Social Sciences
Abstract: Will China continue to rise and become dominant in its region or even globally, or will failure to reform lead to gradual decline or sudden collapse? Expert forecasts of China’s future have shown a strong tendency to polarise around this dominance-collapse dichotomy, to the confusion of most observers. Other experts, however, have more successfully explored the middle ground between these two extremes. This thesis is a critique of these expert forecasts from the beginning of the post-Mao era until the present. It provides a representative sampling and summary record of expert judgements on the major forecasting issues confronting China, both from a national perspective and within four principal domains – political, economic, environmental, and international. It identifies the major proponents of competing forecasts and their principal arguments. Other researchers have considered aspects of this subject, but this study is unique in that it attempts to review these forecasts comprehensively, to examine their methods and perspectives systematically, and to recommend new approaches for expert analysis of China’s future prospects. The central research question addressed is whether an investigation of the contemporary literature in which experts have attempted to forecast China’s future, supported by an evaluation of the methods employed, can suggest improved analytical approaches and frameworks. The principal findings are that useful (though imperfect) methods are indeed available, that many of them have in fact been employed by China experts (with mixed success), and that there is significant potential for further improvement. A major and conspicuous flaw has been the failure of the majority of experts to recognise, accept, and embrace the consequences of a high degree of uncertainty about most of the major issues confronting China. The thesis argues that in addition to traditional methods there is a strong case for a new approach that emphasises the identification and analysis of a hierarchy of critical uncertainties within each of the four domains, concentrating on those uncertainties with the highest consequences and impacts nationally and internationally. The thesis uses this framework of critical uncertainties to review the expert debate in each of the domains, resulting in some valuable new perspectives.
Advisor: Groot, Gerry
Jain, Purnendra Chandra
Tubilewicz, Czeslaw
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Social Sciences, 2013
Keywords: China; forecasting; prediction; future; expert opinion; critical uncertainties
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
DOI: 10.4225/55/59e020669446c
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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