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Real estate activity, democracy and land rights in rural China

Shi Li () and Thomas Vendryes

China Economic Review, 2018, vol. 52, issue C, 54-79

Abstract: Land-related conflicts have become a major cause of social unrest in China. It is common indeed for the institutional changes that accompany development to generate tensions and frictions, notably regarding land rights. Using survey data on land practices and governance in Chinese villages and prefecture-level statistics about investment in the real estate sector, we show that administrative reallocations of village land by local authorities increase with the level of real estate activity and that this effect is mitigated by the development of village-level democracy. These results are consistent with those of the handful of existing empirical studies on this topic. We thus provide empirical insight into the factors governing the evolution of land rights and land institutions in rural areas in China and the related conflicts, as well as, more generally, into the dynamics of institutional change.

Keywords: Land rights; Urban expansion; Governance; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O17 P26 P48 Q15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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