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Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China

  • Martinez-Bravo, Monica
  • Padró i Miquel, Gerard
  • Qian, Nancy
  • Yao, Yang

We use unique survey data to study whether the introduction of local elections in China made local leaders more accountable towards local constituents. We develop a simple model to predict the effects on different policies of increasing local leader accountability, taking into account that there is an autocratic upper government. We exploit variation in the timing of the top-down introduction of elections across villages to estimate the causal effects of elections and find that elections affected policy outcomes in a way that is consistent with the predicted effects of increased local leader accountability.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8368.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8368
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  1. 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.
  2. Jiahua Che & Yingyi Qian, . "Insecure Property Rights and Government Ownership of Firms," Working Papers 97050, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  3. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do democracies have different public policies than non-democracies?," Discussion Papers 0304-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
  5. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian & Pierre Yared, 2010. "The Institutional Causes of China's Great Famine, 1959-61," NBER Working Papers 16361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Brandt, Loren & Rozelle, Scott & Turner, Matthew A., 2002. "Local Government Behavior And Property Rights Formation In Rural China," Working Papers 11988, University of California, Davis, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
  7. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Luo, Renfu & Zhang, Linxiu & Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott, 2007. "Elections, fiscal reform and public goods provision in rural China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 583-611, September.
  9. Alain de Janvry & Frederico Finan & Elisabeth Sadoulet, 2010. "Local Electoral Incentives and Decentralized Program Performance," NBER Working Papers 16635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hanan G. Jacoby & Guo Li & Scott Rozelle, 2002. "Hazards of Expropriation: Tenure Insecurity and Investment in Rural China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1420-1447, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Cai, Hongbin, 2003. " A Theory of Joint Asset Ownership," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 63-77, Spring.
  13. Ernesto Dal Bó & Martín Rossi, 2008. "Term Length and Political Performance," NBER Working Papers 14511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Li Gan & Lixin Colin Xu & Yang Yao, 2007. "Local elections and consumption insurance : evidence from Chinese villages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4205, The World Bank.
  15. Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, 2005. "Democracy, Volatility, and Economic Development," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 348-361, May.
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