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

By Lily L. Tsai

This booklet examines the basic factor of ways voters get govt officers to supply them with the roads, colleges, and different public companies they want via learning groups in rural China. In authoritarian and transitional structures, formal associations for containing govt officers dependable are usually vulnerable. 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, executive officers can nonetheless be topic to casual ideas and norms created via neighborhood solidary teams that experience earned excessive ethical status locally.

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First, they must be encompassing, or open to everyone under the local government’s jurisdiction. Examples of encompassing solidary groups might include citizens’ groups that monitor town planning decisions in the United States, parish churches in nineteenth-century England (Morris 2000), and villages harambees or self-help organizations in Kenya (Miguel 2004). Second, solidary groups must be embedding in that they incorporate local officials into the group as members. Not all encompassing solidary groups are embedding.

Because under these conditions the group and the public are the same, officials in localities with encompassing and embedding solidary groups can earn moral standing for providing public goods. Under these conditions, officials who choose not to use public funds on public goods will be seen not only as bad officials but bad group members. Officials in localities with encompassing and embedding solidary groups thus have an extra incentive to provide public goods and services to their jurisdictions. Under these conditions, solidary groups can provide an extra incentive for officials to invest public funds in public goods provision.

1 shows the surveyed provinces outlined in black. Provinces are shaded according to their rural income per capita. Darker provinces have higher rural income per capita. Coastal and inland regions differ significantly from each other in terms of economic development, and north and south China vary greatly in terrain, institutional history, and social organization. 2 shows how the surveyed provinces vary along these two macrodimensions. First, I focused on developing a deep understanding of everyday village politics and governance.

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