The Chinese Social Credit System: A Model for Other Countries?

Daithí Mac Síthigh & Mathias Siems


Many countries know financial consumer credit ratings, and recent years have also seen a proliferation of rating systems in relation to online platforms and in the ‘sharing economy’, such as eBay, Uber and Airbnb. In the view of many Western observers, however, the emerging Chinese Social Credit System indicates a paradigm shift compared to these former rating systems as it aims for a comprehensive and uniform social rating based on penalty and award mechanisms. By contrast, this article suggests that the evolving forms of the Chinese system should be seen as a specific instance of a wider phenomenon. Thus, it develops a framework that compares different rating systems by reference to their drafters, users, aims, scoring systems, application, use of algorithms, enforcement and accountability; it identifies shortcomings of both low and high interventionist rating systems; and it discusses a range of regulatory approaches and emerging issues that law makers should consider.

Published November 2019
Frequency Bi-Monthly
Volume 82
Issue 6
Print ISSN 0026-7961
Online ISSN 1468-2230