Illegal construction in China’s urban villages: Influence of herding and social networks

Lingfang Li1, Bing Wang1
1College of Public Administration, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Li, L., & Wang, B. (2019). Illegal construction in China’s urban villages: Influence of herding and social networks. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47, e7932.

Volume 47 Issue 5 | e7932 | Published: May 2019 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.7932

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Along with rapid urbanization, illegal construction of houses has become increasingly prevalent in many urban villages in China. In some cities the major groups engaging in such behaviors are local government organizations and firms, but in other cities it has mostly been individuals who have engaged in this illegal activity. Focusing on the theory of planned behavior, we obtained data from 678 residents of urban villages in a city of Southwestern Hubei Province, and used the logit model to identify and assess the factors influencing urban villagers’ decisions to engage in illegal construction behavior. Findings indicated that residents were more likely to engage in illegal construction if their relatives had done so, showing some degree of herd behavior. Social networks were also found to matter, in that those who knew more law enforcement officers were more likely to engage in illegal construction behavior and it was less likely that a resident who was new to a village would do so. These findings are helpful in setting up regulation policies that will better prevent illegal construction behaviors.

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