Panel Paper: The Incentive and Sustainability Analysis of GO-NGO Cooperation in Chinese Disaster Relief

Friday, April 7, 2017 : 11:25 AM
Founders Hall Room 478 (George Mason University Schar School of Policy)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Xiran Liu and Tianyi Fan, Georgetown University
Successful disaster relief strategies include efforts from both state and civil society. The government can effectively contribute technology, resources and facilities from its specialized institutions, while community-based NGOs use their grassroots experiences to fill the service delivery gap in a more targeted and cost-efficient way. In the context of China, the past decade saw an increasing collaboration between these two actors in disaster response. Take the Ludian Earthquake as a representative case. During response period, Zhuoming, a disaster information service center, provided local governments with information cooperation; when it came to the recovery phase, the County Civil Administration Bureau reached out to a voluntary group named Quanxin for emergency goods delivery; months after, when the resettlement came to the township government’s agenda, they collaborated again with another local social work station to collect basic information of each affected family.  

The empirical strategy of this research is primarily based on game theory and quasi-experimental analysis. In our game theory model, we simulate the cooperation between NGOs and local governments during the Ludian Earthquake as the non-antagonistic cooperation game to get deep insight into incentives and operation mechanism of such cooperation. We begin with a two-player (local governments and NGO) non-antagonistic game. Local governments and NGOs have no fundamental interest conflicts and so the non-antagonistic assumption is reasonable. Before the earthquake, this game is a non-cooperation game and information asymmetry is serious. After the earthquake, the game became cooperation game. We compare the total welfare and efficiency of these two games to figure out the motivation of such cooperation and whether Pareto efficiency is achieved. After that, we incorporate earthquake refugees into the game and establish a multiplayer game framework. The 3-player cooperation game is analyzed to explore how to maximize the utility and efficiency from mutual cooperation. Local governments can form coalition with NGOs and NGOs can also choose to form coalitions with refugees. We will calculate payoff under different coalition strategies to see which coalition is more efficient. Then we employ three solution strategies: core, stable sets and the Shapley value to find optimal distribution of payoff. If a fair and efficient allocation of payoff exists, then we can believe that cooperation between NGOs and local governments in emergency can be sustainable and promotes China disaster relief management innovation. In the second step, we plan to apply regression discontinuity analysis to assign the threshold where the local government and NGOs began the cooperation. For this part, we need to collect data and construct samples.  

The platform created by natural disasters for the GO-NGO collaboration attracts Chinese scholars’ interest in certain studies. However, currently most literature puts emphasis on the benefits of the process, and few of them deal with the incentive of this phenomenon. In the meantime, while partly recognizing this “blessing in disguise” opportunity for public-public cooperation, we cannot deny the high cost brought by the disaster. Thus, this paper attempts to answer what incentivizes the cooperation and whether it is sustainable. The result can provide meaningful implications for China's emergency management policy innovation.