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Local Problem Agendas in the Chinese Countryside as Viewed by Cadres and Villagers

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An important question about political linkages in any polity is the degree to which actors at various levels in the political hierarchy have similar policy agendas. This paper addresses that topic by utilizing data from a four-county survey of villagers and officials at the village, township, and county level in the Chinese countryside. With two critical exceptions, officials in general perceived greater problem severity than did villagers. Lower ranking officials saw greater and different problem severity than did higher-ranking ones, especially with respect to economic and infrastructure problems, but county locale outweighed rank in importance. In terms of dyadic congruence, villager agendas were most faithfully reflected in their most proximate but least influential officials, the village leaders. Hierarchical rank, local conditions, and physical proximity are thus key elements affecting perceptions of and agreement about local problem agendas.Acta Politica (2003) 38, 313–332. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ap.5500042

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.ap.5500042

Affiliations: 1Department of Political Science, Ellison Hall, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93016, USA., Email: jennings@polsci.ucsb.edu

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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