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

Author

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

Abstract

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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  • Monica Martinez-Bravo & Gerard Padró i Miquel & Nancy Qian & Yang Yao, 2011. "Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China," NBER Working Papers 16948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16948
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    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:152:y:2017:i:c:p:119-132 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:jcecon:v:45:y:2017:i:2:p:344-365 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Yuan Li, 2014. "Downward accountability in response to collective actions," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 22(1), pages 69-103, January.
    4. Kis-Katos, Krisztina & Sjahrir, Bambang Suharnoko, 2017. "The impact of fiscal and political decentralization on local public investment in Indonesia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 344-365.
    5. Davide Cantoni & Yuyu Chen & David Y. Yang & Noam Yuchtman & Y. Jane Zhang, 2017. "Curriculum and Ideology," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(2), pages 338-392.
    6. Tiago Freire & J. Vernon Henderson & Ari Kuncoro, 2017. "Volunteerism after the Tsunami: The Effects of Democratization," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(1), pages 176-195.
    7. Petra Persson & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2016. "The Limits Of Career Concerns In Federalism: Evidence From China," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 338-374, April.
    8. Gerard Padro -i-Miquel & Nancy Qian, 2015. "Making Democracy Work: Culture, Social Capital and Elections in China," Working Papers id:6619, eSocialSciences.
    9. Li, Yuan, 2013. "Downward Accountability in Response to Collective Actions: The Political Economy of Public Goods Provision in China," Stockholm School of Economics Asia Working Paper Series 2013-26, Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm China Economic Research Institute.
    10. Monica Martinez-Bravo & Gerard Padró i Miquel & Nancy Qian & Yang Yao, 2012. "Elections in China," NBER Working Papers 18101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:oup:jeurec:v:14:y:2016:i:2:p:338-374. is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Luis N. Meloni, 2015. "Non-democratic regimes and Elite Capture: Evidence from the Brazilian Dictatorship," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2015_41, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    13. Birney, Mayling, 2014. "Decentralization and Veiled Corruption under China’s “Rule of Mandates”," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 55-67.
    14. Martinez-Bravo, Monica & Padro, Gerard & Qian, Nancy & Yao, Yang, 2012. "The Effects of Democratization on Public Goods and Redistribution: Evidence from China," CEPR Discussion Papers 8975, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    15. Guojun He & Shaoda Wang, 2016. "Do College Graduates Serving as Village Officials Help Rural China?," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2016-39, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Nov 2016.
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    17. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Narayan, Ambar & Dasgupta, Basab & Kaiser, Kai, 2014. "Electoral accountability and local government spending in Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6782, The World Bank.
    18. Monica Martinez-Bravo, 2014. "The Role of Local Officials in New Democracies: Evidence from Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(4), pages 1244-1287, April.
    19. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2013. "On Economics: A Review of Why Nations Fail by D. Acemoglu and J. Robinson and Pillars of Prosperity by T. Besley and T. Persson," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(1), pages 116-143, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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