Constituency Service Under Nondemocratic Rule: Evidence from China

Distelhorst, Greg and Hou, Yue (2014) Constituency Service Under Nondemocratic Rule: Evidence from China. APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper, MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2014-12, Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 2453574.

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Abstract

Why do nondemocratic regimes provide constituency service? This study develops theory based on a national field audit of China's "Mayor's Mailbox," an institution that allows citizens to contact local political officials. Analyzing government responses to over twelve hundred realistic appeals from putative citizens, we find local service institutions in China are comparably responsive to similar institutions in democracies. Two key predictors of institutional quality are economic modernization and the intensity of local social conflict. We explain these findings by proposing a demand-driven theory of nondemocratic constituency service; in order to sustain the informational benefits of citizen participation, service institutions must increase responsiveness according to citizen demand. We then offer supplementary evidence for this theory by analyzing the content of real letters from citizens to local officials in China.

Item Type: Other Working Paper
Subject(s): International business
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2015 13:49
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2016 15:12
Funders: N/A
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/5403

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