Local Government Behavior and Property Right Formation in Rural China
Secure land tenure is important to the development process, but China’s rural reforms have so far failed to provide farm households with this security. We examine the political economy of land tenure and find that local governments sacrifice tenure security in the interests of efficiency and equity. Local rent seeking also plays an important role, and is a likely source of the under-development of land rental markets. Our results further suggest that decreases in distortionary taxes and increases in the integrity of elections will lead to more secure tenure and an increased reliance on market land exchange.
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