NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Local Elections in Non-Democracies Increase Accountability? Evidence from Rural China

Monica Martinez-Bravo, Gerard Padró i Miquel, Nancy Qian, Yang Yao

NBER Working Paper No. 16948
Issued in April 2011
NBER Program(s):   PE   POL

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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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16948

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