Yi Ma defends his PhD thesis

Yi MaCandidate

Yi Ma.


"Soft law implementation in the European Union and in China".


 The thesis is available as an e-book via Academic books.

Time and venue

Link for the webinar: https://ucph-ku.zoom.us/s/68891444860
Wednesday 16 December 2020 from 10:00-13:00.
Kindly note that the defence will start precisely at 10:00.

Register in advance for this webinar:

Meeting ID: 688 9144 4860
Passcode: 699378

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Assessment committee

  • Professor Peter Nedergaard, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen (chair)
  • Professor Sabine Saurugger, Sciences Po Grenoble
  • Professor LI, Lianjiang, Chinese University of Hong Kong


Soft law plays an important role in both international and domestic legal systems, but its implementation faces challenges. This PhD dissertation addresses this issue, by investigating the strategies that influence soft law implementation at the member state level in the EU and the provincial government level in China. Theoretically, it has drawn on compliance theory and principal-agent theory. Empirically, it investigates the Country-Specific Recommendations during the European Semester from 2013 to 2018, and the implementation of central social opinions in China at the provincial level from 2003 to 2017. Findings from the five articles show that monitoring can be an effective strategy for international organisations, but domestically monitoring may work only partially. It also shows the important role of national ownership in international soft law implementation. However, building up national ownership remains a difficult task. The dissertation provides a first step to a better understanding of the strategies that influence soft law implementation. It demonstrates the need to study soft law implementation more deeply. Only with a deeper understanding of this topic can one keep up with the knowledge of this fast-changing world which is increasingly governed by soft law, both internationally and domestically.