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Social Fragmentation, Public Goods and Elections: Evidence from China

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  • Gerard Padro i Miquel
  • Nancy Qian
  • Yang Yao

Abstract

This study examines how the economic effects of elections in rural China depend on voter heterogeneity, for which we proxy with religious fractionalization. We first document religious composition and the introduction of village-level elections for a nearly nationally representative sample of over two hundred villages. Then, we examine the interaction effect of heterogeneity and the introduction of elections on village-government provision of public goods. The interaction effect is negative. We interpret this as evidence that voter heterogeneity constrains the potential benefits of elections for public goods provision.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18633.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18633

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  1. Benjamin A. Olken & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Informal Taxation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 1-28, October.
  2. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  3. Abhijit Banerjee & Dilip Mookherjee & Kaivan Munshi & Debraj Ray, 2001. "Inequality, Control Rights, and Rent Seeking: Sugar Cooperatives in Maharashtra," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 138-190, February.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  5. Renfu Luo & Linxiu Zhang & Jikun Huang & Scott Rozelle, 2010. "Village Elections, Public Goods Investments and Pork Barrel Politics, Chinese-style," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(4), pages 662-684.
  6. Habyarimana, James P. & Humphreys, Macartan & Posner, Daniel N. & Weinstein, Jeremy, 2006. "Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision? An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2272, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
  8. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2002. "People's Opium? Religion and Economic Attitudes," NBER Working Papers 9237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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