Elections and Authoritarian Rule: Causes and Consequences of Adoption of Grassroots Elections in China

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

This dissertation investigates the relationship between elections and authoritarian rule with a focus on the case of China's adoption of elections at the grassroots level. In this dissertation, I look at the incentives facing Chinese local governments in choosing between holding competitive elections or state-controlled elections, and how the selection of electoral rules shapes the public's preferences over political institutions and influences the citizens' political behaviors, especially voting in elections and participation in contentious activities. The overarching theme in this dissertation proposes that the sources and consequences of Chinese local elections are conditioned on the state-owned resources and the governing ... continued below

Creation Information

Tzeng, Wei Feng August 2017.

Context

This dissertation is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by UNT Libraries to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 77 times , with 4 in the last month . More information about this dissertation can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this dissertation or its content.

Publisher

Rights Holder

For guidance see Citations, Rights, Re-Use.

  • Tzeng, Wei Feng

Provided By

UNT Libraries

The UNT Libraries serve the university and community by providing access to physical and online collections, fostering information literacy, supporting academic research, and much, much more.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this dissertation. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Degree Information

Description

This dissertation investigates the relationship between elections and authoritarian rule with a focus on the case of China's adoption of elections at the grassroots level. In this dissertation, I look at the incentives facing Chinese local governments in choosing between holding competitive elections or state-controlled elections, and how the selection of electoral rules shapes the public's preferences over political institutions and influences the citizens' political behaviors, especially voting in elections and participation in contentious activities. The overarching theme in this dissertation proposes that the sources and consequences of Chinese local elections are conditioned on the state-owned resources and the governing costs. When the amount of state-owned resources to rule the local society is limited, the paucity of resources will incentivize authoritarian governments to liberalize grassroots elections to offset the governance costs. The various levels of election liberalization will lead to different consequences in the public's political behavior. An abundance of state-owned resources not only discourages rulers from sharing power with the local society, but also supplies the rulers with strong capacity to obtain loyalty from voters when elections are adopted. As a result, elections under authoritarian governments with an abundance of state-owned resources will see more loyalist voters than elections with authoritarian governments with fewer state-owned resources. In addition, the varieties of election practices will exert impacts on public opinion toward the authoritarian government: awareness of elections will enhance public trust in the government and decrease the public's intention to challenge the incumbents' authority while at the same time increasing the public's faith in the institutions, thereby encouraging the public to adopt official channels to air their grievances. The analysis of the village-level as well as individual-level survey data and cases lends empirical supports to the argument. First, I find that the governing costs—measured by the size of labor force—are significantly and positively associated with the likelihood that local officials allow the villagers to freely nominate candidates. Second, I find that party members are more likely to vote in rural elections than urban elections while urban elections attract citizens with higher levels of democratic consciousness. The rural-urban divide in voter type indicates that the possession of economic resources by rural grassroots governments helps mobilize rural loyalist voters to participate in village committee elections, whereas the lack of such resources by urban governments discourages regime loyalist but encourage democratic voters to turn out to vote in urban elections. Third, I find significant evidence that citizens who are aware of grassroots elections are less likely to engage in contentious activities such as protest, strikes or demonstrations. Yet, the awareness of elections also encourages citizens to more frequently adopt, shangfang (petition), a government-sponsored conflict resolution mechanism, than those who are not aware of such elections. The implications of these findings suggest that the capability of state in controlling resources is vital to the success or failure of elections in stabilizing authoritarian regimes. The findings also provide an assessment on the substantial influence of the rural and urban grassroots elections in China's subnational democratization.

Language

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this dissertation in the Digital Library or other systems.

Collections

This dissertation is part of the following collection of related materials.

UNT Theses and Dissertations

Theses and dissertations represent a wealth of scholarly and artistic content created by masters and doctoral students in the degree-seeking process. Some ETDs in this collection are restricted to use by the UNT community.

What responsibilities do I have when using this dissertation?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this dissertation.

Creation Date

  • August 2017

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 9, 2017, 11:44 a.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this dissertation last used?

Yesterday: 0
Past 30 days: 4
Total Uses: 77

Interact With This Dissertation

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

International Image Interoperability Framework

IIF Logo

We support the IIIF Presentation API

Tzeng, Wei Feng. Elections and Authoritarian Rule: Causes and Consequences of Adoption of Grassroots Elections in China, dissertation, August 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1011791/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .