What Role(s) Do Village Committees Play in the Withdrawal from Rural Homesteads? Evidence from Sichuan Province in Western China | Land Portal

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December 2020
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© 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Village committees, as grassroots spontaneously formed by rural collective members in China’s hierarchy system, play an irreplaceable role in the management of rural public affairs. Based on the filed survey dataset taken from three pilot counties/districts in Sichuan province, we explored the significant role that village committees played in farmers’ withdrawal from rural homesteads (WRH). Our empirical results, according to binary logistic regression (BLR) modelling, indicated that the WRH was significantly affected by the triple roles of village committees, among which information intermediary was the most effective followed by the trust builder and then the coordinated manager. Firstly, village committees’ involvement facilitated the WRH by improving policy transparency and decreasing information cost. Secondly, the depth of village committees’ participation (i.e., being involved in multiple phases) positively affected the WRH given its signification of the participation of farmers. Whereas the breadth of participation (i.e., considering various demands of different participants) negatively affected the process of WRH by reducing the decision-making efficiency. Thirdly, farmers’ trust in institutions played a positive role in the WRH, but their confidence in village cadres had limited impact. We therefore argue that promising village committees should act as “all-round stewards” in the decision-making of rural households, which not only includes the transmit of information between those above and those below, but also needs to actively strive for farmers’ trust by letting their voice heard. Based on our empirical findings, this paper finally proposed some policy suggestions, such as strengthening mutual communication, empowerment of rural grassroots, encouraging farmers’ participation and improving formal institutions.

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Tang, Peng
Chen, Jing
Gao, Jinlong
Li, Min
Wang, Jinshuo


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