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Does election lead to populism or elite capture in rural China


  • Shu, Youhua
  • Chowdhury, Shyamal K.


The nature of the collective ownership may make it easier for the local governments to purse private benefits from the return of the public investments on the collective operation. This may lead to disproportionate allocation of public funds to favour collective-owned operation as opposed to private production, though such allocation did not always benefit the majority of the villagers. The introduction of election in local governments may decrease the extent of her capture from public investments on the collective, for the reason that the village head needs to take not only the private interest but also the votes into her consideration when allocating the public funds. In this paper, we found evidence that the allocation of the public funds is sensitive to the change of the demographic weight of collective groups although no disproportionate allocation has been assigned to the collective group. And election had no effects on the allocation pattern of the production related public funds.

Suggested Citation

  • Shu, Youhua & Chowdhury, Shyamal K., 2009. "Does election lead to populism or elite capture in rural China," 2009 Conference, August 16-22, 2009, Beijing, China 51405, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae09:51405

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bardhan, Pranab & Mookherjee, Dilip, 2006. "Pro-poor targeting and accountability of local governments in West Bengal," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 303-327, April.
    2. Hehui Jin & Yingyi Qian, 1998. "Public Versus Private Ownership of Firms: Evidence from Rural China," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 773-808.
    3. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
    4. Wang, Shuna & Yao, Yang, 2007. "Grassroots Democracy and Local Governance: Evidence from Rural China," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1635-1649, October.
    5. Karla Hoff & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2004. "After the Big Bang? Obstacles to the Emergence of the Rule of Law in Post-Communist Societies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 753-763, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Dong, Xiao-Yuan & MacPhail, Fiona & Bowles, Paul & Ho, Samuel P. S., 2004. "Gender Segmentation at Work in China's Privatized Rural Industry: Some Evidence from Shandong and Jiangsu," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 979-998, June.
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    More about this item


    Fiscal decentralization; election; elite capture; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Political Economy; Public Economics; H7; R5;

    JEL classification:

    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis


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