Collective Action in maintaining rural infrastructures : cadre-farmer relationship, institution rules and their interaction terms

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Original languageEnglish
Article number105043
Journal / PublicationLand Use Policy
Online published9 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


Maintaining and improving rural infrastructure is one approach to realize rural revitalization in China. The running of rural infrastructure maintenance projects constructed upon village land generally involves two major problems, which are the lack of institutional rules and a weakening relationship between village cadres and farmers. By extending the IAD Framework, this paper studies how institutional rules, cadre-farmer relationships and their interaction term affect farmer willingness to maintain infrastructure. When involving the utilization and governance of public resources such as collective land, both local resource endowment and farmers’ willingness should be fully considered. The results show that institutional rules and good cadre-farmer relationships can both significantly improve farmer willingness, and strengthen the positive effect of institutional rules on farmer willingness. However, the introduction of the interaction term renders institutional rules insignificant, showing that a good cadre-farmer relationship is necessary for ensuring institutional rules take effect. The results are robust after controlling village heterogeneity. Furthermore, we identify two mechanisms underlying successful cadre-farmer relationships. The first is cadres mobilizing farmers to participate, and the second is enabling farmers to have a better understanding and recognition of institutional rules, thus improving their willingness to participate in rural infrastructure maintenance. This paper concludes by discussing how these findings point to new policy prescriptions surrounding the tragedy of the commons and tragedy of the anti-commons.

Research Area(s)

  • cadre-farmer relationships, farmer willingness, institutional rules, maintenance, Rural infrastructure