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  • Author: Xiaopeng Pang, Scott Rozelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: The goal of our paper is to provide an empirical basis for understanding progress (or stagnation) in the evolution of China's village committee elections. To meet this goal, we pursue three specific objectives. First, we seek to identify patterns (and trends) of voting behavior and develop ways to measure participation in the voting process. Second, we analyze who is voting and who is not (and document the process by which their votes are cast). Finally, we see to understand the correlation between propensity to vote and the quality of village elections.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jikun Huang, Renfru Luo, Linxiu Zhang, Scott Rozelle
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: A key issue in political economy concerns the accountability that governance structures impose on public officials and how elections and representative democracy influences the allocation of public resources. In this paper we exploit a unique survey data set from nearly 2450 randomly selected villages describing China's recent progress in village governance reforms and its relationship to the provision of public goods in rural China between 1998 and 2004. Two sets of questions are investigated using an empirical framework based on a theoretical model in which local governments must decide to allocate fiscal resources between public goods investments and other expenditures. First, we find evidence—both in descriptive and econometric analyses—that when the village leader is elected, ceteris paribus, the provision of public goods rises (compared to the case when the leader is appointed by upper level officials). Thus, in this way it is possible to conclude that democratization—at least at the village level in rural China—appears to increase the quantity of public goods investment. Second, we seek to understand the mechanism that is driving the results. Also based on survey data, we find that when village leaders (who had been elected) are able to implement more public projects during their terms of office, they, as the incumbent, are more likely to be reelected. In this way, we argue that the link between elections and investment may be a rural China version of pork barrel politics.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: China
  • Author: Douglas Webster, Jianming Cai, Binyi Luo, Annemarie Schneider, Karen C. Seto
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, has undergone rapid transformation during China's post-reform period between 1978 and 2003. One of the leading cities in southwest China, Chengdu is second only to Chongqing in population. Chengdu anchors one end of the Chongqing-Chengdu urban corridor, the fourth most populous urban cluster in China. Although the upgrading of Chongqing Municipality to the equivalent of provincial status in 1997 has increased the city's profile and potential as an administrative, land transportation, and manufacturing center, it is expected that Chengdu's regional and strategic importance as a service and high-tech center will increase in the future. With increased economic specialization among Chinese cities, it is expected that Chengdu and Chongqing cities will increasingly complement each other in terms of function, both enhancing their developmental prospects as a result. Further, the development of western China is a major objective of the Tenth Five Year Plan. The “Go West” policy was introduced in 1999.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Chongqing, Chengdu
  • Author: Andrew G. Walder
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: Despite skepticism about official economic statistics, there is little doubt that China since 1978 has undergone an economic transformation of historic proportions. This outcome stands in stark opposition to arguments that were once widely accepted in several scholarly communities, and which are still highly influential even today. In the early 1980s there was wide agreement that “partial” reform, under a single party dictatorship that sought indefinitely to preserve public ownership, was a recipe for failure. China specialists, students of comparative economic systems, and economists who advised governments and international agencies about postcommunist restructuring in Eurasia were initially in broad agreement on this point.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Andrew G. Walder, Litao Zhao
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia-Pacific Research Center
  • Abstract: For more than two decades after the demise of Maoist collectivism, a resurgent market economy has deeply transformed the social structure of rural China. By the mid-1980s, peasant households had already returned to historical marketing patterns of agricultural produce and other sidelines and services. By the turn of the century, almost 140 million individuals, or 30 percent of the rural labor force, earned regular incomes from wage labor outside agriculture. Twenty million rural households had registered individual family enterprises, and two million of them had already grown into substantial private firms. A massive rural industrial sector grew up under public ownership in the 1980s, employing more than 80 million at its height. It was then extensively privatized in the 1990s, and is now less than half its former size. While these developments have been widely noted in studies of rural industrialization and income inequality, it is still far from clear how they have altered the structure and wealth of village political and economic elites.
  • Topic: Communism, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: China, Asia