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The Usefulness Of Imperfect Elections: The Case Of Village Elections In Rural China

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  • LOREN BRANDT
  • MATTHEW A. TURNER

Abstract

Using a sample of rural Chinese villages, which have recently been the subject of democratic reforms, we look for relationships between marginal changes in the democratic process and marginal changes in economic outcomes. We find that even very poorly conducted elections can have large incentive effects. That is, even corruptible elections provide leaders with strong incentives to act in the interests of their constituents. Our findings also allow us to rank the importance of four possible election reforms, which have attracted the attention of international observers and academic researchers. Copyright 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd..

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:19:y:2007:i:3:p:453-480
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Yatchew,Adonis, 2003. "Semiparametric Regression for the Applied Econometrician," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521012263, October.
    2. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2003. "Do Electoral Cycles Differ Across Political Systems?," Working Papers 232, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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    Cited by:

    1. Monica Martinez-Bravo & Gerard Padró i Miquel & Nancy Qian & Yang Yao, 2012. "Elections in China," NBER Working Papers 18101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Yang Yao & Nancy Qia & Monica Martinez Bravo & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2011. "Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China," Working Papers id:3931, eSocialSciences.
    3. Martinez-Bravo, Monica & Padro, Gerard & Qian, Nancy & Yao, Yang, 2012. "The Effects of Democratization on Public Goods and Redistribution: Evidence from China," CEPR Discussion Papers 8975, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Padró i Miquel, Gerard & Qian, Nancy & Xu, Yiqing & Yao, Yang, 2015. "Making Democracy Work: Culture, Social Capital and Elections in China," CEPR Discussion Papers 10515, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Gerard Padro i Miquel & Nancy Qian & Yang Yao, 2012. "Social Fragmentation, Public Goods and Elections: Evidence from China," NBER Working Papers 18633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. He, Quqiong & Pan, Ying & Sarangi, Sudipta, 2018. "Lineage-based heterogeneity and cooperative behavior in rural China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 248-269.
    7. Li Han, 2014. "Are elections in autocracies a curse for incumbents? Evidence from Chinese villages," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(1), pages 221-242, January.
    8. Mu, Ren & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "The role of elected and appointed village leaders in the allocation of public resources: Evidence from a low-income region in China," IFPRI discussion papers 1061, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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