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Making Democracy Work: Culture, Social Capital and Elections in China

Listed author(s):
  • Padró i Miquel, Gerard
  • Qian, Nancy
  • Xu, Yiqing
  • Yao, Yang

This paper aims to show that culture is an important determinant of the effectiveness of formal democratic institutions, such as elections. We collect new data to document the presence of voluntary and social organizations and the history of electoral reforms in Chinese villages. We use the presence of village temples to proxy for culture, or more specifically, for social (civic) capital and show that their presence greatly enhances the increase in public goods due to the introduction of elections. These results support the view that social capital complements democratic institutions such as elections.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10515.

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Date of creation: Mar 2015
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10515
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  1. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090.
  2. Yang Yao & Nancy Qia & Monica Martinez Bravo & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2011. "Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China," Working Papers id:3931, eSocialSciences.
  3. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller, 2008. "Bootstrap-Based Improvements for Inference with Clustered Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 414-427, August.
  4. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
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  7. Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Teaching Practices and Social Capital," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 189-210, July.
  8. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-177, January.
  9. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-338, May.
  10. Dean S. Karlan, 2005. "Using Experimental Economics to Measure Social Capital And Predict Financial Decisions," Working Papers 909, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
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  12. Boix, Carles & Posner, Daniel N., 1998. "Social Capital: Explaining Its Origins and Effects on Government Performance," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(04), pages 686-693, October.
  13. Rozelle Scott & Boisvert Richard N., 1994. "Quantifying Chinese Village Leaders' Multiple Objectives," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 25-45, February.
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  15. Tommaso Nannicini & Andrea Stella & Guido Tabellini & Ugo Troiano, 2013. "Social Capital and Political Accountability," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 222-250, May.
  16. 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.
  17. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  18. Baland, Jean-Marie & Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2000. "Halting Degradation of Natural Resources: Is There a Role for Rural Communities?," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290612.
  19. Loren Brandt & Matthew A. Turner, 2007. "The Usefulness Of Imperfect Elections: The Case Of Village Elections In Rural China," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(3), pages 453-480, November.
  20. Ruixue Jia, 2014. "The Legacies of Forced Freedom: China's Treaty Ports," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(4), pages 596-608, October.
  21. repec:pri:rpdevs:gamespaper is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
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