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Project design, village governance and infrastructure quality in rural China


  • Chengfang Liu
  • Linxiu Zhang
  • Jikun Huang
  • Renfu Luo
  • Hongmei Yi
  • Yaojiang Shi
  • Scott Rozelle


Purpose - This paper aims to explain why the quality of infrastructure projects in rural China differs from village to village and how project quality is correlated with project design attributes and governance factors. Design/methodology/approach - Using primary data collected by the authors on three types of infrastructure projects in villages across China, they created measures of project quality for each village. They then used both descriptive and multivariate approaches to examine how quality varies from village to village and factors correlated with quality. Findings - Between-project within-village quality differences are small and project design has little explanatory power. Between-village variations are large. There are strong correlations between the ways villages govern themselves and project quality. The authors conclude that it is difficult to make good projects work in communities that lack good governance. Originality/value - Disaggregated data on the quality of infrastructure (and its determinants) were collected by the authors to allow for variation in the type of infrastructure projects (roads, irrigation, and drinking water) and variation in village governance, making it possible to identify and contrast the effects of project design and village governance factors on project quality. As its chief contribution, this work identifies potential ways to improve the quality of infrastructure projects in rural development.

Suggested Citation

  • Chengfang Liu & Linxiu Zhang & Jikun Huang & Renfu Luo & Hongmei Yi & Yaojiang Shi & Scott Rozelle, 2013. "Project design, village governance and infrastructure quality in rural China," China Agricultural Economic Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 248-280, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:caerpp:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:248-280

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