Prof. Xun WU

PhD in Public Policy Analysis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Associate Director (Taught Postgraduate Studies), Interdisciplinary
Programs Office
Professor, Division of Public Policy and Division of Social Science
Associate Director, GREAT Smart Cities Institute


Water resource management
Health policy
Policy design and innovations
Technology policy


Professor Xun WU is a professor at the Division of Public Policy and the Division of Social Science.

Professor Wu is a policy scientist with a strong interest in the linkage between policy analysis and public management. Trained in engineering, economics, public administration, and policy analysis, his research seeks to make contribution to the design of effective public policies in dealing emerging policy challenges across Asian countries. His research interests include policy innovations, water resource management, health policy reform, and anti-corruption, and his work has been published in top journals in his fields of study, such as Policy Sciences, Public Administration Review, Governance, Social Sciences & Medicine, and Water Resources Research. He is a co-editor of the Cambridge Studies in Comparative Public Policy, and Cambridge Elements in Public Policy.

He has been involved extensively in consultancy and executive education. He has consulted for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UNEP, International Vaccine Institute, and numerous government agencies on a variety of topics, such as infrastructure planning and development, environmental and social impact assessment, design and implementation of randomized control trials (RCTs), and Public-Private Partnership. He has designed and delivered customized executive education programs in policy development, leadership, and public sector management for a diverse range of clients, such as Bank of Indonesia, Yunnan Provincial Government of China, Public Utilities Board (PUB) of Singapore, General Secretariat of the Executive Council (GSEC) of UAE, and Ministry of Water Resources of Nepal.

Prior to joining HKUST, he held a faculty position (2001-2015) at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in the National University of Singapore, while serving as the Director of the Institute of Water Policy. He had also worked as a lecturer in Renmin University of China (1988-1992) and a survey specialist at the World Bank (2000-2001).

His media expertise includes infrastructure development, water security, health policy reform and anti-corruption.

Publications by Research Areas

Water Resources Management and Policy

  • Qian, Neng; House, Schuyler; Wu, Alfred M.; Wu, Xun; Public–private partnerships in the water sector in China: a comparative analysis, International Journal of Water Resources Development, v. 36, (4), July 2020, p. 631-650 , 2020

  • Wang, Yahua; Wu, Xun; Tortajada, Celilia, Innovative and transformative water policy and management in China, International Journal of Water Resources Development, v. 36, (4), July 2020, p. 565-572 , 2020

  • Whittington, Dale; Wu, Xun, Improving water governance in Kathmandu: insights from systems thinking and behavioral science, Water Policy, v. 21, (S1), December 2019, p. 1-8 , 2019

  • Suwal, Bhim Raj; Zhao, Jane; Raina, Aditi; Wu, Xun; Chindarkar, Namrata; Kumar, K. C. Bal; Whittington, Dale, , Households' preferences for water tariff structures in Kathmandu, Nepal, Water Policy, v. 21, December 2019, p. 9-28 , 2019

  • Raina, Aditi; Zhao, Jane; Wu, Xun; Kunwar, Laxman; Whittington, Dale, , The structure of water vending markets in Kathmandu, Nepal, Water Policy, v. 21, (S1), December 2019, p. 50-75 , 2019

  • Jensen, Olivia; Wu, Xun; Regulating Government-owned Water Utilities, Utilities Policy, v. 49, December 2017, p. 1-5 , 2017

  • Gurung, Yogendra Bahadur; Zhao, Jane; Kumar KC, Bal; Wu, Xun; Suwal, Bhim; Whittington, Dale, The Costs of Delay in Infrastructure Investments: A Comparison of 2001 and 2014 Household Water Supply Coping Costs in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, Water Resources Research, v. 53, (8), August 2017, p. 7078-7102 , 2017

  • Poocharoen, O.-O.; Wasson, R.J.; Wu, Xun, Ganga Rejuvenation: Governance Challenges and Policy Options, Ganga Rejuvenation: Governance Challenges and Policy Options / Edited by Ora-orn Poocharoen, Robert James Wasson and Xun Wu. World Scientific Publishing Co., 2017. , 2017

  • Araral, Eduardo K.; Wu, Xun, Comparing Water Resources Management in China and India: Policy design, Institutional Structure and Governance, Water Policy, v. 18, December 2016, p. 1-13 , 2016

  • Wu, Xun; House, R. Schuyler; Peri, Ravi, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Water and Sanitation in India: Lessons from China, Water Policy, v. 18, December 2016, p. 153-176 , 2016

  • Household Water Supply and Coping Costs in Kathmandu Valley, 2001 and 2014 (with Yogendra Gurung, Jane Zhao, Bal Kumar KC, Bhim Suwal, & Dale Whittington), forthcoming in Water Resources Research.

  • The Hybrid Model for Economic Regulation of Water Utilities: Mission Impossible? (with Olivia Jensen), forthcoming in Utilities Policy.

  • Public-Private Partnerships in the Water Sector in Southeast Asia: Trends, Issues, and Lessons (with Schuyler House), in Darryl Jarvis and Toby Carroll (eds) Beyond the Development State: Neoliberalism, New Public Management and Contemporary Development in Asia, Cambridge University Press, 2017 (in press)

  • Adoption of Increasing Block Tariff (IBTs) among Urban Water Utilities in Major Cities in China (with Li Li). Urban Water Journal, 14(7), 2017

  • Infrastructure Development and the Economics of Cooperation in the Eastern Nile (with Marc Jeuland and Dale Whittington). Water International, 42(2), 2017

  • Comparing Water Resource Management in China and India: Policy Design, Institutional Structure and Governance (with Eduardo Araral). Water Policy, 2016

  • Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Water Sector in China: Lessons for India (with Schuyler House & Ravi Peri). Water Policy, 2016

  • Does Political Uncertainty Affect Water Resources Development? The Case of the Eastern Nile (with Marc Jeuland and Dale Whittington). Policy & Society, 35(2), 2016.

  • Embracing Uncertainty in Policy-Making: The Case of Water Sector (with Olivia Jensen). Policy & Society, 35(2), 2016

  • Tool for Estimating the Incidence of Subsidies Delivered by Water Utilities in Developing Countries (with Whittington, Dale, Celine Nauges, David Fuente), Utilities Policy, 34 (C), 2015

  • Regulating Discretion: Privatization of Manila’s Water Supply (with Leong Ching), in Terje Tvedt and Terje Oestigaard, A History of Water: Water and Urbanization, Series III, Volume 1, I.B. Tauris, 2014

  • Water Resource Development on the Ganges: Moving beyond Ambiguity (with Dale Whittington), Water Policy, 15 (S1), 2013

  • The French Model and Water Challenges in Developing Countries: Evidence from Jakarta and Manila (with Leong Ching), Policy & Society, Volume 32, Issue 2, May 2013, Pages 103-112

  • Independence in Water Resource Development in the Ganges: An Economic Analysis (with Marc Jeuland, Claudia Sadoff and Dale Whittington), Water Policy, 15(S), 2013

  • Ten Fundamental Questions for Water Resource Development in the Ganges: Myths and Realities (with Sadoff, Claudia Sadoff, Harshadeep Rao, Donald Blackmore, Anna O’Donnell, Marc Jeuland, Sylvia Lee, and Dale Whittington), Water Policy, 15(S1), 2013

  • Infrastructure Regulation: What Works, Why and How do we Know it? (with Darryl Jarvis, M Ramesh and Eduardo Araral), World Scientific, 2011

  • Regulatory Independence and Contract Incompleteness: Assessing Regulatory Effectiveness in Water Privatization in Manila (with Loit Batac, and Nepomuceno Malaluan), in Darryl Jarvis, Ramesh, Xun Wu and Eduardo Araral (eds) Infrastructure Regulation: What Works, Why and How do we Know it?World Scientific, 2011

  • Regulating Infrastructure: A Review of the Issues, Problems and Challenges (with Eduardo Araral, Darryl and M. Ramesh), in Darryl Jarvis, M Ramesh, Xun Wu and Eduardo Araral (eds) Infrastructure Regulation: What Works, Why and How do we Know it?World Scientific, 2011

  • Applying Game Theory to Water Conflict in International River Basins, VDM, 2009

  • A Tale of Two Concessionaires: A Natural Experiment of Water Privatization in Metro Manila (with Nepomuceno A. Malaluan), Urban Studies, 45(1), 2008

  • Incentive Compatibility and Conflict Resolution in International River Basins: A Case Study of the Nile Basin (with Dale Whittington), Water Resources Research, 42 (2), 2006

  • Water Resources Management in the Nile Basin: The Economic Value of Cooperation (with Dale Whittington and Claudia Sadoff), Water Policy, 7(3), 2005

Health Policy and Governance

  • Yang, Wei; Chang, Shuang; Zhang, Wenbo; Wang, Ruobing; Mossialos, Elias; Wu, Xun; Cui, Dan; Li, Hao; Mi, Hong,  An Initial Analysis of the Effects of a Long-Term Care Insurance on Equity and Efficiency: A Case Study of Qingdao City in China, Research on Aging, 2020, 2020

  • Tan, Siying; Wu, Xun; Yang, Wei, Impacts of the type of social health insurance on health service utilisation and expenditures: implications for a unified system in China, Health Economics, Policy and Law, v. 14, (4), October 2019, p. 468-486, 2018

  • Yang, Wei; Wu, Xun, Providing Comprehensive Health Insurance Coverage in Rural China: a Critical Appraisal of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme and Ways Forward, Global Policy, v. 8, March 2017, p. 110-116, 2017

  • Health Insurance Reform in Rural China: A Critical Assessment (with Wei Yang), Global Policy, Volume 8, Supplement 2, 2017

  • Governing Health Care in an Imperfect World: Hierarchy, Markets and Networks in China and Thailand (with M Ramesh and Michael Howlett), in Capano Giliberto, Michael Howlett, and M Ramesh (eds) Varieties of Governance: Dynamics, Strategies, and Capacities, Springer, 2015

  • China’s New Cooperative Medical Scheme and Costs of Outpatient Care in Rural Areas: Evidence from a Longitudinal Household Survey (with Wei Yang), Health Policy and Planning, 30 (2), 2015

  • Second Best Governance? Governments and Governance in the Imperfect World of Health Care Delivery in China, India and Thailand in Comparative Perspective (with M Ramesh and Michael Howlett). Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 17(4), 2015

  • Health Governance and Healthcare Reforms in China (with M Ramesh and Jingwei He), Health Policy and Planning, 29 (1), 2013

  • Health Care Reforms in Developing Asia: Propositions and Pitfalls (with M Ramesh), Development and Change, 40(3), 2009

  • Health Policy Reform in China: Lessons from Asia (with M Ramesh), Social Science & Medicine, 68(12), 2009.

  • Realigning Public-Private Mix in Healthcare: Comparative Health Policies in Southeast Asia (with M Ramesh), Pacific Review, 21(2), 2008

  • Neuorientierung des Verhältnisses öffentlicher und privater Träger der Gesundheitsversorgung in Südostasien (with M Ramesh), Focus ASIEN, No. 23, pp. 23-34, 2006


Environmental Policy and Energy

  • Combating River Pollution in China and India: Policy Measures and Governance Challenges (with Wang, Yahua, Maitreyee Mukherjee, Dan Wu. Water Policy, 16(S1), 2016

  • Fiscal Balance: Environmental Taxes and Investments (with Dodo Thampapillai and Seck L. Tan), Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, 2 (2), 2010

  • Environmental Taxes, Cumulative Pollution Loads and Fiscal Balance (with Dodo Thampapillai), in Lin-Heng Lye (ed) Critical Issues in Environmental Taxation VolumeVII, Oxford University Press, 2009

  • The Environment and the Economy: Some Questions Regarding the Performance of the Chinese Economy (with Dodo Thampapillai and Lawrence R Sunderaj), International Journal of Employment, Workplace and Environment, 2(1), 2007

  • Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Indonesia and the Philippines (with Priyambudi Sulistiyanto), in Howlett, M. and M Ramesh (eds.), De-regulation and Its Discontents: Rewriting the Rules in Asia, Edward Elgar, 2006

  • Coping with the Cold: Space Heating and the Urban Poor in Developing Countries (with Julian Lampietti and Anke Meyer), Energy Economics26, 2004

  • Access to Utilities by the Poor: A Global Perspective (with Kristin Komives and Dale Whittington), in Ugaz, Cecilia and Catherine Waddams Price (ed.), Utility Privatization and Regulation, Edward Elgar, 2003

  • Infrastructure Coverage and the Poor: A Global Perspective (with Kristin Komives and Dale Whittington), in Brook, Penelope J. and Timothy C. Irwin (ed.), Infrastructure for Poor People, World Bank, 2003

  • Energy Use around the World, Evidence from LSMS Surveys (with Kristin Komives and Dale Whittington), in Energy Services for the World’s Poor, World Bank, 2000

  • Foreign Direct Investment in the Chinese Power Sector: Barriers and Opportunities (with Allen Blackman), Energy Policy, 27, November 1999

Anti-Corruption and Governance

  • Araral, Eduardo K.; Pak, Anton; Pelizzo, Riccardo; Wu, Xun, Neo-patrimonialism and Corruption: Evidence from 8,436 Firms in 17 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Public Administration Review, v. 79, (4), July 2019, p. 580-590 , 2019

  • Corporate Governance and Bribery: Evidence from the World Business Environment Survey (with Krishnan Chandramohan and Azad Singh Bali), in Michel Dion, David Weisstub, and Jean-Loup Richet (eds) Financial Crimes: Psychological, Technological, Technological and Ethical Issues, Springer, 2016.

  • Determinants of Bribery: Theory and Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa (with Pelizzo, Riccardo, Eduardo Araral, and Anton Pak). African Development Review, 28(2), 2016

  • Determinants of Bribery in Asia: Evidence from Business Environment Survey, Journal of Business Ethics, 87(1), 2009

  • Public Sector Transparency and Corporate Accounting Practices in Asia, in Fritzen, Scott and M. Ramesh (eds.), Transforming Asian Governance: Rethinking Assumptions, Challenging Practices,Routledge, 2008

  • Conclusion: Contradictions, Contingencies and Terrain Ahead (with Scott Fritzen) in M Ramesh, Edwardo Araral and Xun Wu (eds.), Reasserting the Public in Public Services. Routledge, 2009

  • Political Institutions and Corporate Governance Reforms in Southeast Asia, in Ho, Khai Leong (ed.), Reforming Corporate Governance in Southeast Asia: Economics, Politics and Regulation, ISEAS, 2005. Reprint in C. Vidya (ed.), Corporate Governance: Policy Perspectives, The Icfai University Press, 2007

  • Corporate Governance and Corruption: A Cross-Country Analysis, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, 18 (2), 2005

  • Firm Accounting Practices, Accounting Reforms and Corruption in Asia, Policy and Society, 24 (3), 2005


Policy and Governance Innovations

  • Wu, Xun; Howlett, Michael; Ramesh, M, Policy Capacity and Governance Assessing Governmental Competences and Capabilities in Theory and Practice, Policy Capacity and Governance: Assessing Governmental Competences and Capabilities in Theory and Practice / Edited by Xun Wu, Michael Howlett, M Ramesh. Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. Book series: Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy., 2018

  • Wu, Xun; Ramesh, M; Howlett, Michael; Fritzen, Scott, The Public Policy Primer: Managing the Policy Process, The public policy primer: managing the policy process / by Wu, Xun, Ramesh, M, Howlett, Michael and Fritzen, Scott. London: Routledge, 2017., 2017

  • Wu, Xun; Ramesh, M.; Yu, Jianxing, , Autonomy and Performance: Decentralization Reforms in Zhejiang Province, China, Public Administration and Development, v. 37, (2), May 2017, p. 94-109 , 2017

  • He Jingwei, Alex; Lai, Allen; Wu, Xun, Teaching Policy Analysis in China and the United States: Implications for Curriculum Design of Public Policy Programs, Policy & Society: Journal of Public, Foreign and Global Policy, v. 35, (4), December 2016, p. 385-396 , 2016

  • Teaching Public Policy Analysis in the US and China: Implications for Curriculum Development of Policy Training Program (with Alex Jingwei He and Allen Lai). Policy & Society, 35(4), 2016

  • Local Government Entrepreneurship in China: A Public Policy Perspective (with Ciqi Mei and Kang Chen), China: An International Journal, 14(3), 2016.

  • Local Government Entrepreneurship and Global Trade Platforms: A Case Study of the Yiwu Market in China (with M Ramesh, Michael Howlett, and Qingyang Gu). China: An International Journal, 14(3), 2016

  • Understanding Policy Capacity: Conceptual Framework and Measurement (with M Ramesh and Michael Howlett). Policy & Society, 34 (3-4), 2015

  • Understanding the Persistence of Policy Failures: Politics, Governance and Uncertainty (with Michael Howlett and M Ramesh), Public Policy and Administration, 30(3-4), 2015

  • Market Imperfections, Government Imperfections and Innovative Policy Mixes in Singapore (with M Ramesh). Policy Sciences, 47(3), 2014

  • Public Administration Research in Mainland China and Taiwan: An Assessment of Journal Publications 1998-2008 (with Yanling He, and Tung-Wen Sun), Public Administration, 91 (2), 2013

  • Teaching Public Policy in East Asia: Aspirations, Potentials and Challenges (with Allen Lai and Do Lim Choi), Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, 14(5), 2012

  • Routledge Handbook of Public Policy (with Eduardo Araral, Eduardo, Scott Fritzen, Michael Howlett, M Ramesh), Routledge, 2012

  • The Public Policy Primer: Managing the Policy Process (with M Ramesh, Michael Howlett, and Scott Fritzen), Routledge, 2010.

  • Paradigm Shift in Public Administration: Implications for Teaching in MPA Programs (with Jingwei He), Public Administration Review, Volume 69, Supplement 1, 2009

  • Reasserting the Public in Public Services (with M Ramesh, Eduardo Araral), Routledge, 2009

Find out more about Professor Xun Wu’s publications here.