Street-Level Responsiveness of City Governments in China, Germany, and the United States
35 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2021 Last revised: 18 Mar 2022
Date Written: March 16, 2022
This paper presents evidence from parallel field experiments in China, Germany, and the United States. We contacted the mayor’s office in over 6,000 cities asking for information about procedures for starting a new business. Chinese and German cities responded to 36-37 percent of requests. American cities responded only to 22 percent of requests. American and German cities were more responsive to requests from citizens than foreigners; Chinese cities did not discriminate on this basis. Chinese cities were more responsive to requests from men than women; German and American cities did not show such a bias. Chinese cities were more responsive to requests associated with starting a construction business than a green business. Chinese cities were more responsive when the mayor was being considered for promotion. We discuss the implications for bureaucratic responsiveness in autocracies and democracies and for top-down versus bottom-up policy making.
Keywords: Responsiveness, bureaucracy, democracy, autocracy, environment, discrimination, China, Germany
JEL Classification: H7, H83, O38, P5, R5
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