Examines the fundamental issue of how citizens get government officials to provide them with the roads, schools, and other public services they need by studying communities in rural China. In authoritarian and transitional systems, formal institutions for holding government officials accountable are often weak. The state often lacks sufficient resources to monitor its officials closely, and citizens are limited in their power to elect officials they believe will perform well and to remove them when they do t. The answer, Lily L. Tsai found, lies in a community's social institutions. Even when formal democratic and bureaucratic institutions of accountability are weak, government officials can still be subject to informal rules and rms created by community solidary groups that have earned high moral standing in the community.
Lily L. Tsai is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at MIT. Her research for this book received the Best Field Work Award from the American Political Science Association Section on Comparative Democratization in 2005. She has written articles in Comparative Economic and Social Systems (Jingji Shehui Tizhi Bijiao) and The China Quarterly. Two of her articles are forthcoming in edited volumes by Elizabeth Perry and Merle Goldman and by Lei Guang. Professor Tsai is a graduate of Stanford University, where she graduated with honors and distinction in English literature and international relations. She received an M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2005.