IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/exehis/v75y2020ics0014498319302256.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Did the communists contribute to China’s rural growth?

Author

Listed:
  • Lu, Yi
  • Luan, Mengna
  • Sng, Tuan-Hwee

Abstract

The communist revolution brought unprecedented changes to China. Yet there is no consensus on its role in the history of China’s modern economic growth. We investigate whether local communist party membership affected developmental outcomes from 1957–78 (the Maoist period) and 1978–85 (the reform period). Focusing on Sichuan, China’s most populous province, we use the Long March as an instrument to tease out causal effects. We find that counties with more communist members made larger strides in educational attainment, road construction, and agricultural mechanization during the Maoist period. However, these counties recorded faster output growth only after 1978. Our findings provide empirical support to field studies conducted by sociologists and historians who argue that the communists improved the organizational infrastructure in China’s countryside. Furthermore, we highlight the futility of solving collective action problems without heeding private incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Lu, Yi & Luan, Mengna & Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2020. "Did the communists contribute to China’s rural growth?," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 75(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:75:y:2020:i:c:s0014498319302256
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2019.101315
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014498319302256
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-795, December.
    2. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1988. "The Household Responsibility System in China's Agricultural Reform: A Theoretical and Empirical Study," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 199-224, Supplemen.
    3. Mark Dincecco & Mauricio Prado, 2012. "Warfare, fiscal capacity, and performance," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 171-203, September.
    4. Johnson, Noel D. & Koyama, Mark, 2017. "States and economic growth: Capacity and constraints," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-20.
    5. Loren Brandt & Debin Ma & Thomas G. Rawski, 2014. "From Divergence to Convergence: Reevaluating the History behind China's Economic Boom," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(1), pages 45-123, March.
    6. Wei Li & Dennis Tao Yang, 2005. "The Great Leap Forward: Anatomy of a Central Planning Disaster," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 840-877, August.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Jacob Moscona & James A. Robinson, 2016. "State Capacity and American Technology: Evidence from the 19th Century," NBER Working Papers 21932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Nicola Gennaioli & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2015. "State Capacity and Military Conflict," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(4), pages 1409-1448.
    9. Melissa Dell & Nathan Lane & Pablo Querubin, 2018. "The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(6), pages 2083-2121, November.
    10. Mauricio Cardenas, 2010. "State Capacity in Latin America," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 1-45, January.
    11. Daron Acemoglu & Camilo García-Jimeno & James A. Robinson, 2015. "State Capacity and Economic Development: A Network Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(8), pages 2364-2409, August.
    12. Sng, Tuan-Hwee, 2014. "Size and dynastic decline: The principal-agent problem in late imperial China, 1700–1850," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 107-127.
    13. Justin Yifu Lin, 1987. "The Household Responsibility System Reform in China: A Peasant's Institutional Choice," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 69(2), pages 410-415.
    14. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1992. "Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 34-51, March.
    15. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2013. "Pre‐Colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 113-152, January.
    16. Acemoglu, Daron, 2005. "Politics and economics in weak and strong states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(7), pages 1199-1226, October.
    17. Chenggang Xu, 2011. "The Fundamental Institutions of China's Reforms and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 1076-1151, December.
    18. Ruixue Jia, 2014. "The Legacies of Forced Freedom: China's Treaty Ports," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(4), pages 596-608, October.
    19. Barry Naughton, 2007. "The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262640643, September.
    20. McMillan, John & Whalley, John & Zhu, Lijing, 1989. "The Impact of China's Economic Reforms on Agricultural Productivity Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 781-807, August.
    21. Nee, Victor & Opper, Sonja, 2012. "Capitalism from Below: Markets and Institutional Change in China," Economics Books, Harvard University Press, number 9780674050204, December.
    22. Mark Dincecco & Gabriel Katz, 2016. "State Capacity and Long‐run Economic Performance," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(590), pages 189-218, February.
    23. Park, Albert & Wang, Sangui & Wu, Guobao, 2002. "Regional poverty targeting in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 123-153, October.
    24. Daron Acemoglu & Jacob Moscona & James A. Robinson, 2016. "State Capacity and American Technology: Evidence from the Nineteenth Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 61-67, May.
    25. Shuo Chen & Xiaohuan Lan, 2017. "There Will Be Killing: Collectivization and Death of Draft Animals," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 58-77, October.
    26. Yasheng Huang, 2012. "How Did China Take Off?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 147-170, Fall.
    27. Hongbin Li & PakWai Liu & Junsen Zhang & Ning Ma, 2007. "Economic Returns to Communist Party Membership: Evidence From Urban Chinese Twins," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1504-1520, October.
    28. Bramall, Chris, 2000. "Sources of Chinese Economic Growth, 1978-1996," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198296973.
    29. Pranab Bardhan, 2016. "State and Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 862-892, September.
    30. Kung, James Kai-Sing & Chen, Shuo, 2011. "The Tragedy of the Nomenklatura: Career Incentives and Political Radicalism during China's Great Leap Famine," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 27-45, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political economy of transition; Growth and development; China;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
    • P32 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Collectives; Communes; Agricultural Institutions

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:75:y:2020:i:c:s0014498319302256. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622830 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.