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Village governance in contemporary China : variations and outcomes

Authors Sun, Xiulin (孙秀林)
Issue Date 2007
Summary For the 745 million of farmers currently living in the Chinese countryside, village governance has become an increasingly important issue with respect to how local public goods are financed (since the recent abolition of both local fees and taxes), and the manner in which the village community is governed—the latter measured by both the extent of local cadres’ devotion to community management and the degree of villagers’ participation in community affairs. Using a nationally representative dataset conducted in 2005, this thesis examines the effect if any of village governance—defined specifically by whether a village elects to chooses its own representatives and adopts the seemingly democratic procedure for discussing issues affecting the village community at large (dubbed “One-case-one-meeting”)—on the local officials’ devotion to management of community affairs and civic participation (processes) and the provision of local public goods (outcome). Consistent with established hypothesis, the empirical results obtained clearly show that adoption of the foregoing, more democratic mechanisms has resulted in greater provision of local public goods. The effect of village democracy on the process of village governance is however mixed. Whereas adoption of village democratic institutions increases the time allocation of cadres to community affairs, it does not however reduce the time that they spend on fulfilling the set of responsibilities imposed upon them by the state, which are obligatory in nature. A democratically elected representative system has also the virtuous effect of increasing the political awareness and concern on the part of the villagers; but this result does not extend to those villages that have adopted only the “one-case-one-meeting” mechanism but without simultaneously incorporate the broader democratic electoral framework in selecting the village representatives.
Note Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2007
Language Chinese
Format Thesis
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