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Does it pay to be a Cadre ? estimating the returns to being a local official in rural China

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  • Zhang, Jian
  • Giles, John
  • Rozelle, Scott

Abstract

Recruiting and retaining leaders and public servants at the grass-roots level in developing countries creates a potential tension between providing sufficient returns to attract talent and limiting the scope for excessive rent-seeking behavior. In China, researchers have frequently argued that village cadres, who are the lowest level of administrators in rural areas, exploit personal political status for economic gain. Much existing research, however, compares the earnings of cadre and non-cadre households in rural China without controlling for unobserved dimensions of ability that are also correlated with success as entrepreneurs or in non-agricultural activities. The findings of this paper suggest a measurable return to cadre status, but the magnitudes are not large and provide only a modest incentive to participate in village-level government. The paper does not find evidence that households of village cadres earn significant rents from having a family member who is a cadre. Given the increasing returns to non-agricultural employment since China's economic reforms began, it is not surprising that the returns to working as a village cadre have also increased over time. Returns to cadre-status are derived both from direct compensation and subsidies for cadres and indirectly through returns earned in off-farm employment from businesses and economic activities managed by villages.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6082.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6082

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Keywords: Small Area Estimation Poverty Mapping; Housing&Human Habitats; Labor Policies; Rural Poverty Reduction; Emerging Markets;

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References

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  1. Angrist, Joshua D, 2001. "Estimations of Limited Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 2-16, January.
  2. de Brauw, Alan & Giles, John, 2008. "Migrant labor markets and the welfare of rural households in the developing world : evidence from China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4585, The World Bank.
  3. Jonathan Morduch & Terry Sicular, 1998. "Politics, Growth and Inequality in Rural China: Does It Pay To Join the Party?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research 1832, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  5. Angrist, Joshua D, 2001. "Estimations of Limited Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 19(1), pages 27-28, January.
  6. Markus Goldstein & Christopher Udry, 2005. "The Profits of Power: Land Rights and Agricultural Investment in Ghana," Working Papers, Economic Growth Center, Yale University 929, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  7. Benjamin, Dwayne & Brandt, Loren & Giles, John, 2010. "Did higher inequality impede growth in rural China ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5483, The World Bank.
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  17. John Giles, 2000. "Is Life More Risky in the Open? Household Risk-Coping and the Opening of China's Labor Markets," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 314, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. All Politics Might Be Local, but the Returns to Local Politics Are Frugal
    by Marc F. Bellemare in Marc F. Bellemare on 2012-07-12 09:00:42

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