Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Making Democracy Work: Culture, Social Capital and Elections in China

Author(s): Gerard Padrů i Miquel, Nancy Qian, Yiqing Xu and Yang Yao

Publication Date: March 2015

Keyword(s): Civic Capital, History, Institutions, Public Goods and Trust

Programme Area(s): Development Economics

Abstract: This paper aims to show that culture is an important determinant of the effectiveness of formal democratic institutions, such as elections. We collect new data to document the presence of voluntary and social organizations and the history of electoral reforms in Chinese villages. We use the presence of village temples to proxy for culture, or more specifically, for social (civic) capital and show that their presence greatly enhances the increase in public goods due to the introduction of elections. These results support the view that social capital complements democratic institutions such as elections.

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Bibliographic Reference

Padrů i Miquel, G, Qian, N, Xu, Y and Yao, Y. 2015. 'Making Democracy Work: Culture, Social Capital and Elections in China'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.