This chapter provides a conclusion and comprises summarized findings. In addition, this chapter addresses a serious challenge that faces most students of institutions: Are institutions epiphenomenal? It argues that rural China’s experiences under the Chinese Communist Party regime confirm the significant influence of institutions on its governance which cannot be fully attributed to the institutions simply transmitting the impact of structural conditions. This chapter also provides suggestions on how to adequately contextualize our understanding of institutional change and its consequences. Particularly, it emphasizes the necessity of establishing a comprehensive framework to examine the possible dynamics among different types of institutions and moving beyond the institutional environment by bringing in the pertinent social environment. This chapter further discusses the broader implications of this research for the literature on formal and informal institutions, institutional change, local governance, and social capital.
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