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June 12, 2008

Mayling Birney

Building the Rule of Law around Democratic Reforms:
Influences on the Enforcement and Defiance of Village Election Laws in China

Tuesday, November 11
Tuesday 12 noon to 1:00 pm
Room 1636 School of Social Work Building
1080 South University

Mayling Birney
Wilson-Cotsen Fellow, Princeton Society of Fellows and Woodrow Wilson School

Using original multi-level survey data from China's two largest provinces, Dr. Birney will show that a key determinant of village election law implementation is the attitude that the higher level government holds towards village self-governance. In contrast, possible bottom-up drivers of election implementation, such as public political engagement, public self-interest in the elections, and social harmony, do not seem to be as significant factors. This finding suggests that when it comes to democracy-enhancing reforms, buiding the rule of law is best done through enlisting top-down support. The assumption that a self-interested, engaged public is able to effectively demand that policitical reforms be implemented, even when they ahve already been passed into laws, may be too optimistic in restrictive authoritarian contexts.

Posted by moyera at June 12, 2008 09:05 AM