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Local governance and public goods provision in rural China

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  • Zhang, Xiaobo
  • Fan, Shenggen
  • Zhang, Linxiu
  • Huang, Jikun

Abstract

In developing countries, identifying the most effective community-level governance structure is a key issue and, increasingly, empirical evaluation of the effects of democratization on the provision of local public goods is needed. Since the early 1990s, tens of thousands of villages in rural China have held local-government elections, providing a good opportunity to investigate the effect of democratization on the level of public goods provision. Using a recent village survey conducted over a significant period of time, this paper compares governance by elected officials with that of appointed cadres and finds that elected officials tend to tax constituents less and provide them with higher levels of public service. Authors' Abstract.
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Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Xiaobo & Fan, Shenggen & Zhang, Linxiu & Huang, Jikun, 2004. "Local governance and public goods provision in rural China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2857-2871, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:12:p:2857-2871
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    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    2. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1415-1451.
    3. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
    6. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, September.
    7. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 2002. "The Political Economy of the Kuznets Curve," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 183-203, June.
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