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Political trust as rational belief: Evidence from Chinese village elections

  • Tao, Ran
  • Su, Fubing
  • Sun, Xin
  • Lu, Xi
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    Democratic governance is believed to improve government responsiveness to citizens' demand for public goods. In China, villagers' committee elections represent a major progress in China's development toward good governance. We develop a rational model to explain villagers' participation. Utilizing a national survey of rural residents in 2005, this paper tests the insights of the model. Two findings are of interest to the students of voting and elections. First, there is disagreement over the causal relationship between political trust and voting. This paper offers a rational interpretation of political trust by emphasizing the informational aspect of the concept. Second, voting is generally theorized as a process of overcoming various costs. The prospect of benefits figures more prominently in Chinese village elections. Our findings highlight the pivotal role of township governments in China's rural politics and reveal the inner dilemma of democratization in China.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

    Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 108-121

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:39:y:2011:i:1:p:108-121
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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    1. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
    2. Luo, Renfu & Zhang, Linxiu & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott, 2007. "Elections, fiscal reform and public goods provision in rural China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 583-611, September.
    3. Shen, Yan & Yao, Yang, 2008. "Does grassroots democracy reduce income inequality in China?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2182-2198, October.
    4. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, June.
    5. Zhang, Xiaobo & Fan, Shenggen & Zhang, Linxiu & Huang, Jikun, 2002. "Local governance and public goods provision in rural China:," EPTD discussion papers 93, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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