Professor Wai-Fung LAM 林維峯

Professor of Public Administration

Director, Doctor of Public Administration (DPA)
Director, Center for Civil Society and Governance

Director, Policy for Sustainability Lab
Director, HKU-HKJC ExCEL3 Project

Wai-Fung (Danny) Lam finished his undergraduate study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and received a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Indiana University, Bloomington. Professor Lam is an expert in institutional policy analysis, the commons, social innovation, civil society, and public governance. His research has focused on the design of efficient institutional arrangements for the governance and management of public affairs, a core issue in public administration and sustainable development. Professor Lam has served on the editorial committees of Public Administration Review (PAR), International Review of Administrative Sciences (IRAS),Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis (JCPA), Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ), and Asian Politics and Policy (APP), and is co-editor of The Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Administration. Professor Lam was Head of Department in 2008-2010, and Associate Dean (Innovation) of Social Sciences in 2013-2017. 

Selected Publications

  • Lam, Wai Fung, and Li Wei. 2018. "Network structure and collaborative innovation processes — A comparative analysis of two elderly service networks in Shanghai." Public Administration and Development. Forthcoming.
  • Kwan Nok Chan, and Wai Fung Lam. 2018. “Bureaucratic Control and Information Processing: An Institutional Comparison.” Governance. Forthcoming.
  • Li, Wei, and Wai Fung Lam. 2017. "Network Structure, Resource Availability, and Innovation: A Study of the Adoption of Innovation in Elderly Services in Shanghai.” In Public Service Innovations in China, eds. Yijia Jing and Stephen Osborne, 43-68. Palgrave.
  • Lam, Wai Fung, and Chung Yuan Chiu. 2016. “Institutional nesting and robustness of self-governance: The adaptation of irrigation systems in Taiwan.” International Journal of the Commons 10(2), pp.953–81. DOI:
  • Lam, Wai Fung, and Kwan Nok Chan. 2015. “Policy Advocacy in Transitioning Regimes: Comparative Lessons from the Case of Harbour Protection in Hong Kong.” Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice. DOI:10.1080/13876988.2015.1095427.
  • Radin, Beryl A., and Wai Fung Lam. 2015. “Micro and Macro Approaches to Social Innovation: Mapping the Approaches of Significant Funders and Advocates—Comparative Experience in East Asia, Europe and the United States.” Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration 37(3): 161-81.
  • Lam, Wai Fung, and Kwan Nok Chan. 2015. “How Authoritarianism Intensifies Punctuated Equilibrium: The Dynamics of Policy Attention in Hong Kong.” Governance 28(4): 549-70.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 2015. “Understanding the Dynamics of Institutional Change and Irrigation Assistance.” In Trajectory of Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems, eds. P. Pradhan, U Gautam, and N.M. Joshi. Kathmandu: Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Promotion Trust.
  • Chan, Elaine, and Wai Fung Lam. 2015. “Giving in Hong Kong: A Growing Sector Evading Regulation.” In The Palgrave Handbook of Global Philanthropy, eds. Pamala Wiepking and Femida Handy, 369-87. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Lam, Wai Fung, and Wang Xiaoqi. 2014. “The Cognitive Foundation of a Co-production Approach to Performance Measurement: How do Officials and Citizens Understand Government Performance in China?” Public Administration and Development 34(1): 32-47.
  • Ostrom, Elinor, Wai Fung Lam, Prachanda Pradhan and Ganesh P. Shivakoti. 2011. Improving Irrigation in Asia: Sustainable Performance of an Innovative Intervention in Nepal. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 2011. “The Tragedy of the Commons.” In Encyclopedia of Political Science, eds. B. Badie, D. Berg-Schlosser, and L. Morlino, Leonardo. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 2010. “Governing the Commons.” In Handbook of Governance, ed. Mark Bevir, 501-17. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
  • Lam, Wai Fung, and Elinor Ostrom. 2010. “Analyzing the Dynamic Complexity of Development Interventions: Lessons from an Irrigation Experiment in Nepal.” Policy Sciences 43: 1-25.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 2006. “Foundations of a Robust Social-ecological System: Irrigation Institutions in Taiwan.” Journal of Institutional Economics 2(2): 1-24.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 2006. “Designing Institutions for Irrigation Management: Comparing Irrigation Agencies in Nepal and Taiwan.” Property Management 24(2): 162-78.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 2005. “Coordinating the Government Bureaucracy in Hong Kong: An Institutional Analysis.” Governance 18(4): 633-54.
  • Shivakoti, Ganesh P., Douglass Vermillion, Wai Fung Lam, Elinor Ostrom, Ujjwal Pradhan, Robert Yoder (Eds.). 2005. Asian Irrigation Systems in Transition: Responding to the Challenges Ahead. New Delhi/Thousand Oaks/London: Sage Publications.
  • Amatya, Pradyumna, Wai Fung Lam, Nicole McCoy, and Prashant Amatya. 2004. “Explaining Intervention Outcome in Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems.” Asia-Pacific Journal of Rural Development 14(1): 68-86.
  • Lam, Wai Fung, and Ganesh P. Shivakoti. 2002. “Farmer-to-Farmer Training as an Alternative Intervention Strategy.” In Improving Irrigation Governance and Management in Nepal, eds. Ganesh Shivakoti and Elinor Ostrom, 204-21. Oakland, CA: Institute for Contemporary Studies (ICS) Press.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 2001. “Coping with Change: A Study of Local Irrigation Institutions in Taiwan.” World Development 29(9): 1569-92.
  • Lam, Wai Fung, and James L. Perry. 2000. “The Role of the Nonprofit Sector in Hong Kong’s Development.” Voluntas 11(4): 357-75.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 1998. Governing Irrigation Systems in Nepal: Institutions, Infrastructure, and Collective Action. Oakland, CA: Institute for Contemporary Studies (ICS) Press.
  • Lam, Wai Fung, Myungsuk Lee, and Elinor Ostrom. 1997. “The Institutional Analysis and Development Framework: Application to Irrigation Policy in Nepal.”  In Policy Analysis Concepts and Methods: An Institutional and Implementation Focus, ed. Derek W. Brinkerhoff, 53-85. CT: JAI Press.
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 1996. “Institutional Design of Public Agencies and Coproduction: A Study of Irrigation Associations in Taiwan.” World Development 24(6): 1039-54.  [Reprinted in State-Society Synergy: Government and Social Capital in Development, ed. Peter Evans, 11-47. Berkeley, CA: University of California at Berkeley, 1997.  Also reprinted in Polycentric Governance and Development, ed. Michael McGinnis, 296-325. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999.]
  • Lam, Wai Fung. 1996. “Improving the Performance of Small-Scale Irrigation Systems: The Effects of Technological Investments and Governance Structure on Irrigation Performance in Nepal.” World Development 24(8):1301-15. [Reprinted in Polycentric Governance and Development, ed. Michael McGinnis, 269-95. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999.]
  • Lam, Wai Fung, Myungsuk Lee, and Elinor Ostrom. 1994. “An Institutional Analysis Approach: Findings from the NIIS on Irrigation Performance.”  In From Farmers' Fields to Data Fields and Back: A Synthesis of Participatory Information Systems for Irrigation and Other Resources, eds. Jennifer Sowerine, Ganesh Shivakoti, Ujjwal Pradhan, Ashutosh Shukla, and Elinor Ostrom, 69-93. Colombo, Sri Lanka:IIMI and Rampur, Nepal:IAAS.
  • Ostrom, Elinor, Wai Fung Lam, and Myungsuk Lee. 1994. “The Performance of Self-Governing Irrigation Systems in Nepal.”  Human Systems Management 13(3): 197-207.
  • Tang, Shui Yan, James L. Perry, and Wai Fung Lam. 1994. “The Politics of Structural Reform in Hong Kong: An Institutional Perspective.” International Review of Administrative Sciences 60(3):447-64.