CCER讨论稿:Land Reform, Emerging Grassroots Democracy and Political Trust: Evidence from China’s Collective Forest Tenure Reform

发布日期:2023-09-11 05:27    来源:

E2023012                                                       2023-09-11

Xing Chen

Jintao Xu

Yuanyuan Yi

Andong Zhuge



This study explores how the application of democratic rule in land reform decision-making determines villagers’ political trust and satisfaction towards different levels of the government in China. Based on analyses of a two-period household survey data we find that in China’s most recent Collective Forest Tenure Reform, the use of democratic rule improves villagers’ trust for town and county cadres, whereas the impact on trust towards village cadres is only significant for the democracy involving all the villagers or households in a village. This pattern of trust is partly explained by our findings that the democratic process helped decrease the unresolved inter-village forestland disputes which usually requires town or county level cadres’ intervene, whilst there seems no such impact on the within-village land disputes. Heterogeneity analyses show that democratic decision-making has a more pronounced effect in improving trust for villagers with lower income, and those without affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) or to the village committee. 

Keywords: Political trust and satisfaction, grassroots democracy, land reform, Collective Forest Tenure Reform, China

JEL: D72, D74, O17, P21, P25, P26, P32