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The Effects of Democratization on Public Goods and Redistribution: Evidence from China

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  • Yang Yao
  • Monica Martinez Bravo

    ()

  • Gerard Padro i Miquel

    ()

  • Nancy Qia

    ()

Abstract

This study investigates the effects of introducing elections on public goods and redistribution in rural China. A large and unique survey was collected to document the history of political reforms and economic policies and exploit the staggered timing of the introduction of elections for causal identification. It was found that elections significantly increase public goods expenditure. The increase corresponds to demand and is paralleled by an increase in public goods provision and local taxes. IT that elections cause significant income redistribution within villages. The results support the basic assumptions of recent theories of democratization. In addition, we show that the main mechanism underlying the effect of elections is increased leader incentives.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by eSocialSciences in its series Working Papers with number id:5011.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:5011

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Keywords: Elections; Institutions; Democracy; China; Rural; Political; Economic; Reforms; Taxes; Public Goods;

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References

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  1. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 2006. "Persistence of Power, Elites and Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 5603, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Loren Brandt & Scott Rozelle & Matthew A. Turner, 2002. "Local Government Behavior and Property Right Formation in Rural China," Working Papers mturner-02-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  4. Benjamin Olken, 2005. "Monitoring corruption: Evidence from a field experiment in indonesia," Natural Field Experiments 00317, The Field Experiments Website.
  5. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian & Pierre Yared, 2010. "The Institutional Causes of China's Great Famine, 1959-61," NBER Working Papers 16361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dani Rodrik & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Do Democratic Transitions Produce Bad Economic Outcomes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 50-55, May.
  7. Ernesto Dal Bó & Martín Rossi, 2008. "Term Length and Political Performance," NBER Working Papers 14511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Loren Brandt & Matthew A. Turner, 2007. "The Usefulness Of Imperfect Elections: The Case Of Village Elections In Rural China," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 453-480, November.
  9. Zhang, Xiaobo & Fan, Shenggen & Zhang, Linxiu & Huang, Jikun, 2004. "Local governance and public goods provision in rural China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2857-2871, December.
  10. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2002. "Special Interest Politics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262571676.
  11. Rozelle Scott & Boisvert Richard N., 1994. "Quantifying Chinese Village Leaders' Multiple Objectives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 25-45, February.
  12. Barro, Robert J, 1996. " Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. A Natural Experiment in Chinese Villages
    by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-07-03 13:30:04
  2. Human Resources in Great Britain in the Long Run, 1871-2011
    by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-08-24 12:34:36
  3. Human Resources in Great Britain in the Long Run, 1871-2011
    by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-09-13 10:16:17
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Cited by:
  1. Siqi Zheng & Matthew E. Kahn, 2013. "Understanding China's Urban Pollution Dynamics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 731-72, September.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Democracy Does Cause Growth," NBER Working Papers 20004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Beath, Andrew & Christia, Fotini & Enikolopov, Ruben, 2013. "Do elected councils improve governance ? experimental evidence on local institutions in Afghanistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6510, The World Bank.
  4. Mu, Ren & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2014. "Do elected leaders in a limited democracy have real power? Evidence from rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 17-27.

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