This paper examines how configurations of external support factors have evolved alongside governance reform in recent years and how these evolving configurations have affected regulatory enforcement in four counties in Guangdong Province in China. Based on in-depth interviews with leading officials in the local environmental protection bureaus (EPBs), we show that there have been increases in government and societal support for local EPBs in their regulatory work, thanks partly to a number of recent governance reform efforts, but many problems have remained. Based on a questionnaire survey of enforcement officials, we examine how the perceptions of government and societal support are related to EPB officials’ self-perception of effectiveness. It is found that both local government support and societal support have an influence on enforcement officials’ self-assessment of effectiveness, but the relationships varied considerably depending on various dimensions of effectiveness and the patterns of interactions between government and societal support.
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- Environmental protection
- Local environmental protection bureau
- Regulatory enforcement
- Societal support