Vote Buying and Democracy in Rural China


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Program in China Studies Predissertation-Summer Travel Grants


Political Science


This study examines the impact of vote buying on villagers in rural China. Particularly, the author asks two main questions. First, can vote buying attract more villagers to participate in village elections, and therefore increase the total turnout? Second, can vote buying make villagers become more supportive of village elections, and thus help them to develop a deeper understanding toward democracy? So unlike the general western literature that believe vote buying has only a negative impact on a country’s democracy and development, this study hypothesizes that vote buying might play an opposite role in the China case. In other words, it asks a broader question, can vote buying actually help to promote grassroots democracy in China by imposing some positive impact on villagers?