Resisting public monitoring in authoritarian regimes : Evidence from local environmental litigation in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-477
Journal / PublicationGovernance
Volume36
Issue number2
Online published22 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Abstract

Civic activism is increasingly popular for authoritarian regimes to ensure local compliance and improve local governance, but it also places pressure on local officials. How do local officials respond to such pressures? With a unique dataset of city-level environmental investigations and public interest litigation in China, we conduct a generalized difference-in-difference analysis and find that public interest litigation, a new legal channel for social actors to monitor environmental governance, can significantly reduce information disclosure related to investigations. Furthermore, it changes the focus of investigations: the number of low-profile investigations is increased, while the number of high-profile cases is decreased. This finding reveals how local officials avoid public monitoring by reducing information disclosure but maintaining a certain level of enforcement, which implies that the effect of civic engagement on the accountability of local governments in authoritarian regimes is dynamic with the coevolution of strategies of local officials and civil societies.

Citation Format(s)

Resisting public monitoring in authoritarian regimes: Evidence from local environmental litigation in China. / Zhu, Xiao; Qiu, Taotao; Liu, Dongshu.
In: Governance, Vol. 36, No. 2, 04.2023, p. 459-477.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review