NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Monica Martinez-Bravo

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Working Papers

May 2012Elections in China
with Gerard PadrĂ³ i Miquel, Nancy Qian, Yang Yao: w18101
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.
April 2011Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China
with Gerard PadrĂ³ i Miquel, Nancy Qian, Yang Yao: w16948
We use unique survey data to study whether the introduction of local elections in China made local leaders more accountable towards local constituents. We develop a simple model to predict the effects on different policies of increasing local leader accountability, taking into account that there is an autocratic upper government. We exploit variation in the timing of the top-down introduction of elections across villages to estimate the causal effects of elections and find that elections affected policy outcomes in a way that is consistent with the predicted effects of increased local leader accountability.

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