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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Law of rule

 

The Adverse Effects of Sunshine: A Field Experiment on Legislative Transparency in an Authoritarian Assembly

Edmund Malesky, Paul Schuler & Anh Tran
American Political Science Review, November 2012, Pages 762-786

Abstract:
An influential literature has demonstrated that legislative transparency can improve the performance of parliamentarians in democracies. In a democracy, the incentive for improved performance is created by voters' responses to newly available information. Building on this work, donor projects have begun to export transparency interventions to authoritarian regimes under the assumption that nongovernmental organizations and the media can substitute for the incentives created by voters. Such interventions, however, are at odds with an emerging literature that argues that authoritarian parliaments primarily serve the role of co-optation and limited power sharing, where complaints can be raised in a manner that does not threaten regime stability. We argue that under these conditions, transparency may have perverse effects, and we test this theory with a randomized experiment on delegate behavior in query sessions in Vietnam, a single-party authoritarian regime. We find no evidence of a direct effect of the transparency treatment on delegate performance; however, further analysis reveals that delegates subjected to high treatment intensity demonstrate robust evidence of curtailed participation and damaged reelection prospects. These results make us cautious about the export of transparency without electoral sanctioning.

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Is Corruption in China 'Out of Control'? A Comparison with the U.S. In Historical Perspective

Carlos Ramirez
George Mason University Working Paper, December 2012

Abstract:
This paper compares corruption in China over the past 15 years with corruption in the U.S. between 1870 and 1930, periods that are roughly comparable in terms of real income per capita. Corruption indicators for both countries and both periods are constructed by tracking corruption news in prominent U.S. newspapers. Several robustness checks confirm the reliability of the constructed corruption indices for both countries. The comparison indicates that corruption in the U.S. in the early 1870s - when it's real income per capita was about $2,800 (in 2005 dollars) - was 7 to 9 times higher than China's corruption level in 1996, the corresponding year in terms of income per capita. By the time the U.S. reached $7,500 in 1928 - approximately equivalent to China's real income per capita in 2009 - corruption was similar in both countries. The findings imply that, while corruption in China is an issue that merits attention, it is not at alarmingly high levels, compared to the U.S. historical experience. The paper further argues that the corruption and development experiences of both the U.S. and China appear to be consistent with the "life-cycle" theory of corruption - rising at the early stages of development, and declining after modernization has taken place. Hence, as China continues its development process, corruption will likely decline.

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Field experiment estimate of electoral fraud in Russian parliamentary elections

Ruben Enikolopov et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Electoral fraud is a widespread phenomenon, especially outside the developed world. Despite abundant qualitative and anecdotal evidence on its existence from around the world, there is very limited quantitative evidence on the extent of electoral fraud. We exploit random assignment of independent observers to 156 of 3,164 polling stations in the city of Moscow to estimate the effect of electoral fraud on the outcome of the Russian parliamentary elections held on December 4, 2011. We estimate the actual share of votes for the incumbent United Russia party to be at least 11 percentage points lower than the official count (36% instead of 47%). Our results suggest that the extent of the fraud was sufficient to have had a substantial impact on the outcome of the elections; they also confirm that the presence of observers is an important factor in ensuring the integrity of the procedure.

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On the Role of Human Development in the Arab Spring

Randall Kuhn
Population and Development Review, December 2012, Pages 649-683

Abstract:
This essay traces the effects of human development on political change, focusing on the events of the Arab Spring. Over the past generation, the Arab world experienced rapid progress in human development outcomes, including declining child mortality, extended schooling, and increasing status of women. These development gains penetrated most Arab states and subpopulations. The pathway from human development to political mobilization rests on three interlinked propositions. First, basic human development led to a significant increase in population needs and expectations, creating new policy challenges and reducing public dependency on regimes. Second, human development and new information technologies created new opportunities for political protest. Finally, the collective realization of human development gains resulted in new values conducive to regime change. Each proposition builds on theories of human capital accumulation over the life course that isolate the human dimension of national development. I provide provisional support for these pathways through cross-regional comparison and evidence from specific populations and sub-populations. I highlight the need for new study designs and datasets that further test this model.

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The Arab Spring: Why the Surprising Similarities with the Revolutionary Wave of 1848?

Kurt Weyland
Perspectives on Politics, December 2012, Pages 917-934

Abstract:
Prominent scholars have highlighted important similarities between the Arab Spring of 2011 and the "revolutions" of 1848: Both waves of contention swept with dramatic speed across whole regions, but ended up yielding rather limited advances toward political liberalism and democracy. I seek to uncover the causal mechanisms that help account for these striking parallels. Drawing on my recent analysis of 1848, I argue that contention spread so quickly because many people in a wide range of countries drew rash inferences from the downfall of Tunisia's dictator. Applying cognitive heuristics that psychologists have documented, they overrated the significance of the Tunisian success, overestimated the similarities with the political situation in their own country, and jumped to the conclusion that they could successfully challenge their own autocrats. This precipitation prompted protests in many settings that actually were much less propitious; therefore problems abounded. Cognitive shortcuts held such sway because Arab societies were weakly organized and repressed and thus lacked leaders from whom common people could take authoritative cues. The decision whether to engage in emulative contention fell to ordinary citizens, who - due to limited information access and scarce experience - were especially susceptible to the simple inferences suggested by cognitive heuristics.

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Remittances Deteriorate Governance

Faisal Ahmed
Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming

Abstract:
I use a natural experiment of oil price driven remittance flows to poor, non-oil producing Muslim countries to demonstrate that remittances deteriorate the quality of governance, especially in countries with weak democratic institutions. The results indicate that a one standard deviation increase in remittances raises corruption by 1.5 index points (on a 6-point scale), which is equivalent to a $600 decrease in per-capita GDP. Concomitantly, remittances may enable governments to reduce their delivery of public services (e.g., health care, school enrollment). The results suggest that political institutions may mediate the potentially beneficial socio-economic effects of remittance inflows.

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Spatial Spillovers in the Development of Institutions

Harry Kelejian, Peter Murrell & Oleksandr Shepotylo
Journal of Development Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
We examine spatial spillovers in institutional development. Dependent variables are institutional measures reflecting politics, law, and governmental administration. The explanatory variable of interest is the level of institutions in bordering countries - a spatial lag of the dependent variable. Our spatial model directly leads to the identification strategy for the endogenous spatial lag. We implement new results in spatial econometrics to counter missing-data problems usually rife in spatial empirics. Spatial institutional spillovers are statistically significant and economically important. A counter-factual exercise - the non-existence of the USSR - reveals large direct and indirect spillovers. Numerous robustness exercises bolster conclusions, including yearly cross-section regressions, fixed effects estimates, and adding many extra explanatory variables. Moreover, we provide a new theoretical result showing the robustness of estimates in the presence of omitted variables. We extend the core model, allowing different effects for better and worse neighbors, using inverse distance weights, estimating the spatial-Durbin model, and using Polity's institutional measure.

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The Natural Resource Curse and the Spread of HIV/AIDS, 1990-2008

Indra de Soysa & Theodora-Ismene Gizelis
Social Science & Medicine, January 2013, Pages 90-96

Abstract:
Experts suggest that effective public action can prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Countries dependent on natural resource wealth, such as oil, are likely to suffer from governance failures and thereby suffer lower quality public health. Since the cost of fighting disease redistributes income away from rulers, resource wealth is likely to lead to neglect of public action aimed at stemming a deadly disease. We test this proposition in 137 countries from 1990 until 2008 using oil wealth as a proxy for endogenous policy choices on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, a proxy outcome for ineffective policy and neglect of public action. We find that the 'resource curse' seems to affect the spread of HIV/AIDS, even though oil-rich countries ceteris paribus should have more financial resources for effective public action. The results are robust to a host of controls, alternative indicators, and fixed effects estimation.

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The Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign and Russia's Mortality Crisis

Jay Bhattacharya, Christina Gathmann & Grant Miller
NBER Working Paper, December 2012

Abstract:
Political and economic transition is often blamed for Russia's 40% surge in deaths between 1990 and 1994. Highlighting that increases in mortality occurred primarily among alcohol-related causes and among working-age men (the heaviest drinkers), this paper investigates an alternative explanation: the demise of the 1985-1988 Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign. Using archival sources to build a new oblast-year data set spanning 1978-2000, we find a variety of evidence suggesting that the campaign's end explains a large share of the mortality crisis - implying that Russia's transition to capitalism and democracy was not as lethal as commonly suggested.

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Religious Regulation and the Muslim Democracy Gap

Ani Sarkissian
Politics and Religion, December 2012, Pages 501-527

Abstract:
This article argues that high levels of government regulation of religion help to explain the "democracy gap" in majority Muslim countries. Controlling for previously hypothesized determinants of democracy, it finds that as levels of regulation increase, levels of democracy decline. Examination of specific types of religious regulation in Muslim-majority countries uncovers a pattern of repression of religious expression that may be used to mobilize citizens politically. These regulations are targeted more often at Muslims who seek independence from state-controlled religion or who wish to challenge authoritarian governments, rather than at non-Muslim minorities or at religious worship more generally. Thus, authoritarian and semi-authoritarian regimes in Muslim-majority states successfully use policies toward religion to restrict political competition and inhibit democratic transition.

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Growth, history, or institutions: What explains state fragility in sub-Saharan Africa?

Graziella Bertocchi & Andrea Guerzoni
Journal of Peace Research, November 2012, Pages 769-783

Abstract:
This article explores the empirical determinants of state fragility in sub-Saharan Africa over the 1992-2007 period. Our dataset includes those sub-Saharan countries for which we have information on the distribution by quintiles of the World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) ratings. We evaluate the potential influence on fragility of a wide range of economic, institutional, and historical variables. Among economic factors, we consider per-capita GDP, both in levels and growth rates, investment, natural resources, and schooling. We also consider economic policy variables such as government expenditures, trade openness, and inflation. Demographic forces are accounted for through the fertility rate, life expectancy, and the youth bulge. Institutional factors are captured by measures of ethnic fractionalization, civil liberties, revolutions, and conflicts, as well as governance indicators. Moreover, we select historical variables that reflect the colonial experience of the region, namely the national identity of the colonizers and the political status during the colonial period. Finally, we account for geographic factors such as latitude, access to sea, and the presence of fragile neighbors. Our central findings is that institutions are the main determinants of fragility: even after controlling for reverse causality and omitted variable bias, the probability for a country to be fragile increases with restrictions of civil liberties and with the number of revolutions. Before controlling for endogeneity, economic factors such as per-capita GDP growth and investment show some explanatory power, but economic prosperity displays a contradictory net impact since growth reduces fragility while investment facilitates it. Moreover, instrumental variables estimates show that per-capita GDP growth is no longer a significant factor. Colonial variables display a marginal residual influence: after controlling for all other factors former colonies are actually associated with a lower probability of being fragile.

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Colonialism and Economic Development in Africa

Leander Heldring & James Robinson
NBER Working Paper, November 2012

Abstract:
In this paper we evaluate the impact of colonialism on development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the world context, colonialism had very heterogeneous effects, operating through many mechanisms, sometimes encouraging development sometimes retarding it. In the African case, however, this heterogeneity is muted, making an assessment of the average effect more interesting. We emphasize that to draw conclusions it is necessary not just to know what actually happened to development during the colonial period, but also to take a view on what might have happened without colonialism and also to take into account the legacy of colonialism. We argue that in the light of plausible counter-factuals, colonialism probably had a uniformly negative effect on development in Africa. To develop this claim we distinguish between three sorts of colonies: (1) those which coincided with a pre-colonial centralized state, (2) those of white settlement, (3) the rest. Each have distinct performance within the colonial period, different counter-factuals and varied legacies.

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Conditional effect of economic development on democracy - the relevance of the state

Min Tang & Dwayne Woods
Democratization, forthcoming

Abstract:
This article investigates how the economic role of the state shapes the relationship between economic development and democracy. We argue that the state is not passively under the influence of socio-economic development as assumed in extant empirical studies. Through participating in economic production, the state is able to mitigate positive effect of economic development on politics through shaping the strength and preference of both the state and the societal forces in a way unfavourable for democracy. We thus model the state's economic engagement as a moderator variable to capture the variation in the effect of economic development on regime transition. Empirical analyses consistently show that state engagement attenuates the positive effect of development on probability of democratic transition. And economic development benefits democracy only when the level of state engagement in the economy is relatively low.

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Do Terrorist Attacks Increase Closer to Elections?

Lindsay Shorr Newman
Terrorism and Political Violence, Winter 2013, Pages 8-28

Abstract:
The shadow of violence that elections cast remains poorly understood. A key obstacle impeding cross-national empirical analysis of electoral violence has been the varied nature of such violence. To address this challenge, I examine terrorist attacks as one particular form of electoral violence. By tracking the incidence of terrorist violence relative to election dates over time and across countries using an original dataset for the period from 2000-2005, I find strong support for the hypothesis that terrorist violence increases as we move closer to an election date. In fact, terrorist violence approximates a normal distribution centered on the election date.

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Violence and Election Fraud: Evidence from Afghanistan

Nils Weidmann & Michael Callen
British Journal of Political Science, January 2013, Pages 53-75

Abstract:
What explains local variation in electoral manipulation in countries with ongoing internal conflict? The theory of election fraud developed in this article relies on the candidates' loyalty networks as the agents manipulating the electoral process. It predicts (i) that the relationship between violence and fraud follows an inverted U-shape and (ii) that loyalty networks of both incumbent and challenger react differently to the security situation on the ground. Disaggregated violence and election results data from the 2009 Afghanistan presidential election provide empirical results consistent with this theory. Fraud is measured both by a forensic measure, and by using results from a visual inspection of a random sample of the ballot boxes. The results align with the two predicted relationships, and are robust to other violence and fraud measures.

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Analyzing the relationship between perceived grand corruption and petty corruption in developing countries: Case study of Iran

Behzad Mashali
International Review of Administrative Sciences, December 2012, Pages 775-787

Abstract:
Corruption often spreads because of ignorance and lack of adequate knowledge about the subject as well as how to correct and contain it. On the other side, corrupt legal, political, bureaucratic, and other social system(s) help corruption swell further. The current article sets out to discuss the question: Is there is a relation between perceived grand corruption and petty corruption? In Iran, too, these two types of corruption have recently become debatable issues. And as in Iran, corruption has become the most challenging issue in many developing countries. With respect to the above relationship, while the theoretical literature makes ambiguous predictions, empiricists, too, have focused little on this subject. The present article tries to examine this issue systematically and, hence, suggests that the perceived grand corruption is significantly associated with the petty corruption. Similar results persist even when grand corruption originates in a country's legal system. In a nutshell, the article identifies a positive correlation between perceived grand corruption and petty corruption.

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Structural Impediments to African Growth? New Evidence from Real Wages in British Africa, 1880-1965

Ewout Frankema & Marlous Van Waijenburg
Journal of Economic History, December 2012, Pages 895-926

Abstract:
Recent literature on the historical determinants of African poverty has emphasized structural impediments to African growth, such as adverse geographical conditions, weak institutions, or ethnic heterogeneity. But has African poverty been a persistent historical phenomenon? This article checks such assumptions against the historical record. We push African income estimates back in time by presenting urban unskilled real wages for nine British African colonies (1880-1965). We find that African real wages were well above subsistence level and that they rose significantly over time. Moreover, in West Africa and Mauritius real wage levels were considerably higher than those in Asia.

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Democracy, State Capacity, and Economic Growth

Carl Henrik Knutsen
World Development, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper discusses how regime type and state capacity may interact in affecting economic growth. The empirical analysis finds a positive and robust effect of democracy on growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, a continent historically characterized by weak-capacity states. Furthermore, the paper identifies a robust interaction effect between democracy and state capacity on growth, both in Africa and globally; the effect of democracy on growth increases when state capacity is reduced. Democracy is estimated to have a positive effect on growth in weak-capacity states, but not in high-capacity states. Additionally, the results indicate that state capacity enhances growth only in dictatorships.

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When Is Democracy Better for Economic Performance and when Is It Not: The Interaction Between Polity and Structural Factors

Chin-en Wu
Studies in Comparative International Development, December 2012, Pages 365-388

Abstract:
Is democracy or autocracy better for economic performance? Why do autocracies exhibit a greater variation in growth rate than democracies? We argue that democracy's effects on growth are conditional on structural factors. Democracy is superior to autocracy only when structural factors, such as external threats or natural resource intensity, are not favorable to growth. Conversely, where structural factors are conducive to growth, autocracies are likely to perform better or equally well as democracies. By incorporating institutional and structural incentives into the equation, we answer the questions regarding the relative strengths and weaknesses of political regimes in pursing economic development. The empirical evidence examining postwar data significantly supports the hypotheses.

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The state counts: State efficacy and the development of trust

Francisco Herreros
Rationality and Society, November 2012, Pages 483-509

Abstract:
Most analyses of the relationship between state institutions and interpersonal trust claim either that the state crowds out trust or that it helps to create trust, acting as a third-party enforcer of agreements. Actually, the relationship between the state and trust is much more complex. This article presents a theoretical model that predicts how trust will evolve in highly efficacious and low-efficacious states. Based on priors about other people's trustworthiness determined by educational level, the model claims that in low-efficacious states, trust will tend to collapse and education will not have an effect on trust levels. However, as state efficacy grows, education level will explain variations in trust levels. The theoretical predictions are to a great extent confirmed by a multilevel analysis of 47 countries.

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Where Is the Tipping Point? Bilateral Trade and the Diffusion of Human Rights

Xun Cao, Brian Greenhill & Aseem Prakash
British Journal of Political Science, January 2013, Pages 133-156

Abstract:
Drawing on a panel of 136 countries over the period 1982-2004, we study a tipping point version of Vogel's 'California Effect' in the context of the diffusion of human rights practices. Because human rights practices are often deeply embedded in a society's customs and political institutions, we expect that a high level of pressure from the importing countries is needed to bring about changes in an exporting country's human rights records. We find strong empirical support for this threshold effect; provided that the average level of respect for human rights in importing countries is sufficiently high, trading relationships can operate as transmission belts for the diffusion of human rights practices from importing to exporting countries.

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Economic Crime and Punishment in North Korea

Stephan Haggard & Marcus Noland
Political Science Quarterly, Winter 2012, Pages 659-683

Abstract:
STEPHAN HAGGARD and MARCUS NOLAND describe North Korea's prison system. The system includes not only the infamous penal camps for political prisoners but detention facilities that permit short-run incarceration for economic crimes. They find that those with greater involvement in the market are more likely to face incarceration in such facilities and that the criminalization of economic activity allows the state to extract bribes.

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Ethnic Group Inequalities and Governance: Evidence from Developing Countries

Andreas Kyriacou
Kyklos, February 2013, Pages 78-101

Abstract:
Institutional quality has been increasingly identified as crucial for economic development. In line with previous work which has explored the determinants of good institutions, this paper examines the impact of economic and social inequalities between ethnic groups on government quality. I hypothesize that greater inequalities between groups will tend to undermine institutions both because they tend to legitimize corruption in the eyes of disadvantaged groups and because of the efforts of better-off groups to maintain their privileges. Based on a panel of 29 developing countries, I find that socio-economic ethnic group inequalities reduce government quality, something which suggests the convenience of policies that can level the playing field in ethnically heterogeneous societies.

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Re-examinging the Wall of Separation: A Cross-National Study of Religious Pluralism and Democracy

Ryan Rebe
Politics and Religion, December 2012, Pages 655-670

Abstract:
Mutual autonomy between religious and state institutions is often seen as a key ingredient for democratization. Yet, there are a large number of democracies with an established religion. If a separation of church and state is desirable for the maintenance of a stable democracy, then why do so many democracies continue to support religious institutions and practices? As the evidence from this study reveals, the difference between democracies and non-democracies does not depend on a wall of separation between church and state, but instead, on the protection of religious freedom for minority groups and the promotion of secular legislation.

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Auntie Knows Best? Public Broadcasters and Current Affairs Knowledge

Stuart Soroka et al.
British Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Public service broadcasters (PSBs) are a central part of national news media landscapes, and are often regarded as specialists in the provision of hard news. But does exposure to public versus commercial news influence citizens' knowledge of current affairs? This question is investigated in this article using cross-national surveys capturing knowledge of current affairs and media consumption. Propensity score analyses test for effects of PSBs on knowledge, and examine whether PSBs vary in this regard. Results indicate that compared to commercial news, PSBs have a positive influence on knowledge of hard news, though not all PSBs are equally effective in this way. Cross-national differences are related to factors such as de jure independence, proportion of public financing and audience share.

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Tribal Heterogeneity and the Allocation of Publicly Provided Goods: Evidence from Yemen

Daniel Egel
Journal of Development Economics, March 2013, Pages 228-232

Abstract:
This paper examines how tribes, the dominant political structure in rural areas of many developing countries, can affect the allocation of publicly provided goods. I create a dataset containing more than 4,000 unique Yemeni local tribes and study their relationship with the public provision of educational goods. I demonstrate that areas with greater tribal heterogeneity receive larger allocations of publicly provided teachers and classrooms; I find evidence that this result reflects tribes' roles in influencing both political patronage from the state and targeted development transfers from development donors. This result, while different from most previous studies, reflects the nature of the publicly provided good being studied which is locally excludable precisely along the local tribal lines used for calculating heterogeneity. These results may offer generalizable insight into a variety of other developing country contexts where access to publicly provided goods is controlled or influenced by local groups.

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Attitudes Toward Government Responsibility for Social Services: Comparing Urban and Rural China

Chunping Han
International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Winter 2012, Pages 472-494

Abstract:
This study compares how urban and rural Chinese view government responsibility for social services differently based on analysis of data from a nationally representative sample survey in China in 2004. It finds that disadvantaged people of the rural origin, particularly rural residents staying in the countryside, are less likely than privileged urban residents to demand government intervention. Equally important, urban and rural Chinese form such different views via different mechanisms, as indicated by varying influences of objective circumstances, subjective evaluations of life, social concerns, and access to information between the two groups. It is argued that these patterns of urban-rural variations largely result from the unique divisive household registration (hukou) system and related policies in China. This study extends the theory on how state policies shape attitudes toward redistribution.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM