Informal accountability, socially embedded officials, and public goods provision in rural china: the role of lineage groups

Jie Chen, Narisong Huhe

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7 Citations (Scopus)


In recent studies, analysts have found that so-called “informal accountability” exerts significant influence on public goods provision in rural China. According to these studies, such informal accountability may be formed through the embedment of local officials in social groups. However, there seems to be no agreement on the identification of such embedment and the conditions under which this embedment can influence public goods provision. To advance the literature of this debate, this study examines village officials who are embedded in such social groups as lineage groups and explores their role in shaping public goods provision in rural China based on a unique set of nationwide-survey data. Using a direct measure of social embeddedness of village officials, we have found that the embedment of village officials in a social group can be identified through a direct measure designed in this study and that the embedment has a positive effect on public goods provision in rural China. Finally, we draw some important policy implications from our findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages6
Journal Journal of Chinese Political Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2013


  • informal accountability
  • public goods provision
  • rural China
  • local officials
  • embeddedness
  • accountability
  • informal institution
  • lineage

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