Democracy, community, trust: The impact of elections in rural China

Published

Journal Article

This article systematically investigates the impact of elections in rural China on a basic element of the elite-mass relationship: beliefs of ordinary citizens that their leaders are trustworthy. It analyzes data from two surveys of randomly sampled villagers in the same 57 villages in 1990 and 1996, merged with a set of separately collected data detailing features of elections in these villages during the same period of time. The analyses take advantage of uneven progress in grassroots democratization and ask how variation in democratic electoral quality across villages is associated with variation in changed views about the probity (or venality) of local leaders. Results strongly suggest that formal institutions of electoral democracy matter: Designs that feature contestation and encourage voter participation do better at promoting beliefs that leaders are trustworthy. At the same time, results point to the importance of informal community institutions of lineage relationships. © 2006 Sage Publications.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Manion, M

Published Date

  • April 1, 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 39 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 301 - 324

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1552-3829

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0010-4140

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0010414005280852

Citation Source

  • Scopus