Making governance agile: Exploring the role of artificial intelligence in China’s local governance

Yiran Li, Yingying Fan, Lin Nie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


As the key to digital transformation, artificial intelligence is believed to help achieve the goal of government as a platform and the agile development of digital services. Yet we know little about its potential role in local governance, especially the advances that AIsupported services for the public sector in local governance have ventured and the public value they have created. Combining the digital transformation concepts and public value theory, we fill the gap by examining artificial intelligence (AI) deployment in the public sector of a pilot city of digital transformation in China. Using a mixed-method approach, we show how AI configurations facilitate public value creation in the digital era andidentify four dimensions of AI deployment in the public sector: data integration, policy innovation, smart application, and collaboration. Our case analysis on these four dimensions demonstrates two roles that AI technology plays in local governance— “AI cage” and “AI colleague.” The former builds the technology infrastructure and platform in each stage of service delivery, regulating the behaviors of frontline workers, while the latter helps frontline workers make decisions, thus improving the agility of public service provision.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Policy and Administration
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Making governance agile: Exploring the role of artificial intelligence in China’s local governance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this