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The Usefulness of Corruptible Elections

  • Loren Brandt
  • Matthew Turner

Using a sample of rural Chines villages which have recently been the subject of democratic reforms we look for the relationship between marginal changes in the democratic process and marginal changes in economic outcomes. We find that even very poorly conducted elections can have large incentive effects. That is, even corruptible elections provide leaders with strong incentives to act in the interests of their constituents. Our findings also allow us to rank the imiprotance of four possible election reforms which have attracted the attention of international observers and academic researchers.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-233.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 26 May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-233
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
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  1. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
  2. 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.
  3. Tim Besley, 2002. "Political institutions and policy choices: evidence from the United States," IFS Working Papers W02/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-98, August.
  5. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2003. "Do Electoral Cycles Differ Across Political Systems?," Working Papers 232, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Banks, Jeffrey S. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K., 1998. "Optimal Retention in Agency Problems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 293-323, October.
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