Transparency and Local Accountability: A National-Scale Field Experiment in China on the Disclosure of Information about Pollution


SpeakerDr Bing ZHANG


Time 1430-1600  Friday Dec.15 2017

 Central governments face compliance problems when they rely on local governments to implement policy. In authoritarian political systems, these challenges are pronounced because local governments do not face citizens at the polls. We designed and implemented a national-scale, randomized field experiment in China to test whether the public dissemination of performance ratings of municipal governments by non-state actors caused municipal governments to release more information about the management of pollution to the public as mandated. We find significant and positive treatment effects on the release of information to the public about the management of pollution after only one year. These results reveal important roles that non-state actors can play in enhancing accountability of local governments in authoritarian political systems.