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Social fragmentation, public goods, and local elections: evidence from China

Martinez-Bravo, Monica, Padró i Miquel, Gerard, Qian, Nancy and Yao, Yang (2023) Social fragmentation, public goods, and local elections: evidence from China. In: Faguet, Jean-Paul and Pal, Sarmistha, (eds.) Decentralised Governance: Crafting Effective Democracies Around the World. LSE Press, London, UK, 135 - 179. ISBN 9781909890848

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Identification Number: 10.31389/lsepress.dlg.f


This study examines how the economic effects of local elections in rural China depend on voter heterogeneity, as captured by religious fractionalisation. We first document religious composition and the introduction of village-level elections for a nearly nationally representative sample of over 200 villages. Then, we examine the interaction effect of heterogeneity and the introduction of elections on village government provision of public goods. The interaction effect is robustly negative. We interpret this as evidence that voter heterogeneity constrains the potential benefits of local elections for public goods provision.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2023 14:57
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 06:01

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