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Decentralization and Veiled Corruption under China’s “Rule of Mandates”

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  • Birney, Mayling

Abstract

This paper shows why corruption is especially difficult to detect under China’s system of decentralized authoritarian rule, which I call a “rule of mandates.” Local officials must pursue high priority political targets but have immense discretion over which laws to implement. A relative standard for corruption consequently arises since non-implementation of laws may be mandate-serving or may be corrupt; and determining which requires extra information on why non-implementation occurred. The theory is supported by evidence from original survey and case research on the implementation of the village elections law. I discuss implications for anticorruption efforts, development patterns, and future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Birney, Mayling, 2014. "Decentralization and Veiled Corruption under China’s “Rule of Mandates”," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 55-67.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:53:y:2014:i:c:p:55-67
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2013.01.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Junsen Zhang, 2017. "The Evolution of China's One-Child Policy and Its Effects on Family Outcomes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 141-160, Winter.
    2. Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Xiao Yu Wang & Shuang Zhang, 2016. "The Limits of Meritocracy: Screening Bureaucrats Under Imperfect Verifiability," NBER Working Papers 21963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:bla:buecrs:v:68:y:2016:i:s1:p:146-170 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jin, Yanhong & Fan, Maoyong & Cheng, Mingwang & Shi, Qinghua, 2014. "The economic gains of cadre status in rural China: Investigating effects and mechanisms," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 185-200.
    5. Bonatti, Luigi & Fracasso, Andrea, 2014. "Modeling the Transition Towards Renminbi's Full Convertibility: Implications for China’s Growth," MPRA Paper 54129, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Charlotte Lee & Xiaobin He, 2014. "Go East, Young Cadre: Experiments in Inter-Provincial Training of Party and State Managers in China," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 45(2), pages 329-352, March.
    7. You, Jing & Nie, Huihua, 2017. "Who determines Chinese firms' engagement in corruption: Themselves or neighbors?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 29-46.
    8. Jean-Louis COMBES & Mary-Françoise RENARD & Sampawende Jules TAPSOBA, 2015. "Provincial Public Expenditure in China: A Tale of Profligacy," Working Papers 201524, CERDI.
    9. repec:eee:wdevel:v:95:y:2017:i:c:p:164-176 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lian, Hongping & Lejano, Raul P., 2014. "Interpreting Institutional Fit: Urbanization, Development, and China’s “Land-Lost”," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-10.

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