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Social Fragmentation, Public Goods and Elections: Evidence from China


  • Gerard Padro i Miquel
  • Nancy Qian
  • Yang Yao


This study examines how the economic effects of elections in rural China depend on voter heterogeneity, for which we proxy with religious fractionalization. We first document religious composition and the introduction of village-level elections for a nearly nationally representative sample of over two hundred villages. Then, we examine the interaction effect of heterogeneity and the introduction of elections on village-government provision of public goods. The interaction effect is negative. We interpret this as evidence that voter heterogeneity constrains the potential benefits of elections for public goods provision.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerard Padro i Miquel & Nancy Qian & Yang Yao, 2012. "Social Fragmentation, Public Goods and Elections: Evidence from China," NBER Working Papers 18633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18633
    Note: DEV PE POL

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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Alesina & Caterina Gennaioli & Stefania Lovo, 2014. "Public Goods and Ethnic Diversity: Evidence from Deforestation in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 20504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P35 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Public Finance

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