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Households’ Noncompliance With Resettlement Compensation In Urban China: Toward An Integrated Approach



Political scientists and economists argue that citizens decide whether or not to comply by weighing the benefits of compliance against possible costs from an instrumental perspective, while legal scholars focus on the procedures by which policy outcomes are generated from a procedural perspective, and sociologists emphasize people’s motives to reciprocate with other community members from a collective perspective. However, we still don’t know how these three perspectives can predict citizens’ noncompliance. Concentrating on the experience from mainland China, this work aims to develop a general noncompliance theory by integrating these approaches to explore why households are noncompliant with policies for resettlement compensation provided by local authorities in city regeneration projects. Based on a survey from a minority community in Xi’an and follow-up interviews, households with larger-sized houses, lower trust in local authority, and higher reliance on other community members are found to be more noncompliant with the compensation, which suggests that these three perspectives work together to predict citizens’ noncompliance. Implications for public accountability research in China are also discussed.