The effect of land expropriation on local political trust in China
Capitalizing on longitudinal data from the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), this study investigates the effect of land expropriation on local political trust in China. Results from individual fixed-effects models reveal that first-time land expropriation lowered farmers’ trust in local cadres. Moreover, we find two mechanisms underlying the relationship between land expropriation and local political trust: subjective quality of life and negative cadre–public interactions. Specifically, land expropriation reduced farmers’ life satisfaction, subjective social status, and confidence about the future and increased their chances of having conflicts with officials and experiencing government inefficiency, thereby diminishing farmers’ trust in local cadres. In addition, auxiliary analysis based on data from the Chinese Household Income Project (CHIP) 2013 suggests that entitling land-expropriated farmers to upgraded pension insurance improved their happiness. Our findings confirm an adverse effect of land expropriation on local political trust and generate some policy implications.