Nominal democratic institutions under non-democratic regimes vary across countries. This study intends to advance our understanding of such institutions by exploring the relevance of one aspect of the authoritarian regimes, government hierarchy. Focusing on village-level democratization in China, we investigate the intermediary role of the provincial level governments in shaping the variant outcomes of grassroots democracy across the country. Through an analysis of a national sample, we find that divergent provincial legislative interpretation of central policies is a key determinant of public access to power and democratic governance of village-level governments. Our finding suggests that authoritarian states can employ various institutions to gather information, accommodate local variations, and thus contain potential intra-government disagreement.
Studies in Comparative International Development – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 16, 2017
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