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Local governance and the quality of local infrastructure : evidence from village road projects in rural China
Journal of Public Economics
  • Ho Lun, Alex WONG, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
  • Yu WANG, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
  • Renfu LUO, Peking University
  • Linxiu ZHANG, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Scott ROZELLE, Stanford University
Document Type
Journal article
Publication Date
Elsevier BV
  • Local governance,
  • Infrastructure quality,
  • Village roads,
  • Village participation,
  • Rural China

Research has shown that allowing local communities to elect their own leaders increases local infrastructure investment. However, much less is known about the effects of local governance reform on the quality of local infrastructure. This paper examines the effects of governance reform implemented in rural Chinese villages on the quality of village road projects. We conduct surveys in 101 rural villages and collect data related to the implementation of the reform over the last two decades. We also measure the quality of over 550 village road projects completed in these villages. Using fixed effects and instrumental variable estimation methods, we find that the implementation of village governance reform increases the quality of village road projects. We also find evidence supporting the following effect mechanisms: (1) village leaders become younger and more educated, (2) high quality road projects increase incumbent leaders' re-election chances, and (3) village residents participate more actively in the management and monitoring of village road projects.

Funding Information
Funding for this research was provided by: National Natural Science Foundation of China (71333012, 71473239, 71033003) {71333012, 71473239, 71033003}
Publisher Statement
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Citation Information
Wong, H. L., Wang, Y., Luo, R., Zhang, L., & Rozelle, S. (2017). Local governance and the quality of local infrastructure: Evidence from village road projects in rural China. Journal of Public Economics, 152, 119-132. doi: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2017.06.006