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Elections in China

Author

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

Abstract

We examine the effects of introducing village elections on public goods expenditures, income distribution and land use in rural China. We construct a large panel data set of village administrative records to document the history of political reforms and economic policies for over two hundred villages. We exploit the staggered timing of the introduction of village elections to find that elections significantly increased public goods expenditure financed by villagers. In addition, we find that the introduction of elections caused a moderate decline in income inequality and likely reduced corruption. The results suggest that local officials are better controlled by local elections rather than by centrally managed bureaucratic monitoring.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18101
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1996. "Democracy and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-27, March.
    5. Loren Brandt & Scott Rozelle & Matthew A. Turner, 2004. "Local Government Behavior and Property Right Formation in Rural China," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(4), pages 627-627, December.
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    11. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
    12. 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.
    13. Ernesto Dal Bó & Martín Rossi, 2008. "Term Length and Political Performance," NBER Working Papers 14511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. A Natural Experiment in Chinese Villages
      by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-07-03 18:30:04
    2. Human Resources in Great Britain in the Long Run, 1871-2011
      by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-08-24 17:34:36
    3. Human Resources in Great Britain in the Long Run, 1871-2011
      by missiaia in NEP-HIS blog on 2012-09-13 15:16:17

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian & Jaya Wen, 2018. "Distrust and Political Turnover," NBER Working Papers 24187, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Charles Angelucci & Simone Meraglia, 2015. "Trade, Law and Order, and Political Liberties: Theory and Application to English Medieval Boroughs," Discussion Papers 1509, University of Exeter, Department of Economics.
    3. Melissa Dell & Nathaniel Lane & Pablo Querubin, 2017. "The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 23208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Xue, Melanie Meng & Koyama, Mark, 2018. "Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China," MPRA Paper 84249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & Suresh Naidu & Pascual Restrepo & James A. Robinson, 2014. "Democracy Does Cause Growth," NBER Working Papers 20004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Mu, Ren & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2014. "Do elected leaders in a limited democracy have real power? Evidence from rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 17-27.
    7. 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.
    8. Zhang, Jing & Gan, Li & Xu, Lixin Colin & Yao, Yang, 2014. "Health shocks, village elections, and household income: Evidence from rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 155-168.
    9. Galindo-Silva, Hector, 2015. "New parties and policy outcomes: Evidence from Colombian local governments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 86-103.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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