Did the Communists Contribute to China’s Rural Growth?

50 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2016 Last revised: 1 Nov 2019

See all articles by Yi Lu

Yi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Mengna Luan

Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE)

Tuan-Hwee Sng

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2019

Abstract

The communist revolution brought unprecedented changes to China. Yet there is no consensus on its role in the history of China’s modern economic growth. We investigate whether local communist party membership affected developmental outcomes from 1957–78 (the Maoist period) and 1978–85 (the reform period). Focusing on Sichuan, China’s most populous province, we use the Long March as an instrument to tease out causal effects. We find that counties with more communist members made larger strides in educational attainment, road construction, and agricultural mechanization during the Maoist period. However, these counties recorded faster output growth only after 1978. Our findings provide empirical support to field studies conducted by sociologists and historians who argue that the communists improved the organizational infrastructure in China’s countryside. Furthermore, we highlight the futility of solving collective action problems without heeding private incentives.

Keywords: Political Economy of Transition, Growth and Development, China

JEL Classification: D70, H10, O43, P20, P32

Suggested Citation

Lu, Yi and Luan, Mengna and Sng, Tuan-Hwee, Did the Communists Contribute to China’s Rural Growth? (October 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2728605 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2728605

Yi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

1 Arts Link, AS2 #06-02
Singapore 117570, Singapore 119077
Singapore
65-65166834 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ylu6.weebly.com

Mengna Luan

Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE) ( email )

55 Guanghuacun St,
Chengdu, Sichuan 610074
China

Tuan-Hwee Sng (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Economics ( email )

AS2 Level 6, 1 Arts Link
Singapore, Singapore 117570
Singapore

HOME PAGE: http://profile.nus.edu.sg/fass/ecssth/stf_ecssth.htm

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