The electoral connection in the Chinese countryside
A 1987 law established popularly elected milage committees in the Chinese countryside. This article analyzes a unique set of survey data to describe and explain the connection between village leaders and those who choose them, in terms of orientation to the role of the state in the economy. It compares positions of village leaders with positions of respondents sampled from their selectorates of township-level leaders and electorates of ordinary villagers. Results of multivariate regression analyses indicate that: (1) village leaders are responsive to both old and newly emerging constituencies, as reflected in significant congruence between village leaders and their selectorates above and electorates below; (2) congruence between village leaders and their electorates is not exclusively the result of shared local environment, informal influence or socialization but is significantly associated with the electoral process; and (3) the causal mechanism underlying the electoral connection in the Chinese countryside is the familiar one of voter choice.
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