Accountability Without Democracy: Solidary Groups and Public by Lily L. Tsai

By Lily L. Tsai

This booklet examines the elemental factor of ways electorate get govt officers to supply them with the roads, colleges, and different public companies they wish via learning groups in rural China. In authoritarian and transitional structures, formal associations for containing govt officers liable are frequently susceptible. the reply, Lily L. Tsai came across, lies in a community's social associations. even if formal democratic and bureaucratic associations of responsibility are vulnerable, govt officers can nonetheless be topic to casual principles and norms created through group solidary teams that experience earned excessive ethical status in the neighborhood.

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Extra resources for Accountability Without Democracy: Solidary Groups and Public Goods Provision in Rural China

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The kind of moral glue that holds them together does not matter – only the fact that there is such glue and the configuration in which they are glued together. As we will see, it is possible to have accountability without formal democracy if you have the right kind of social groups. Overview of the Book The empirical context of this study is rural China. To give us a foundation for our inquiry, the book opens with a bird’s-eye view of the political and institutional context in which Chinese village governments operate.

22 22 See, for example, Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy, 173–4; Carles Boix and Daniel Posner, “Social Capital: Explaining Its Origins and Effects on Government Performance,” British Journal of Political Science 28, no. , Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985). On the impact of social fragmentation and particularistic tastes for public goods and services, see A. Alesina and R. Baqir, “Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 114, no.

Optimistic theories of decentralization, however, see this as a good thing. These theories argue that decentralization encourages good governance and public goods provision. Local governments are likely to have better information than higher-level governments about what citizens need and want and thus more likely to provide 17 18 See Kevin O’Brien and Li Lianjiang, “Selective Policy Implementation in Rural China,” Comparative Politics 31, no. 2 ( January 1999), 167–86. Interview with male village Party secretary, eastern Hebei province, May 2, 2002.

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