Transparency, Participation, and Responsiveness in Hong Kong Consultative Policymaking

February 10, 2023


Although consultation promises to bolster the legitimacy of government decisions, it is possible that—in practice—instruments such as the notice and comment process fail to promote transparency, participation, and responsiveness in policymaking. In this article, we examine the operation of the notice and comment process in Hong Kong, by collecting and analyzing information about hundreds of consultations conducted over a 25-year period. We find that participation has been a more consistent element of consultative policymaking than transparency or responsiveness. Our analysis also demonstrates that consultation practices have not eroded over time, despite the increasing influence of the Chinese Communist Party over the Hong Kong government. Although these results demonstrate the procedural robustness of consultative policymaking, it remains possible that the notice and comment process provides little more than a veneer of participation in a system in which decisions are largely made without consideration of public opinion.

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