The relationship between a township leader and a village chief in contemporary China is something of a political puzzle. Researchers have generally argued that China’s bureaucratic system presents a very important political contracting framework. Within this framework, there is a strong relationship between the career of a cadre and the performance of a contract that may include not only economic development but other aspects of political and social development. Past research argued that political contracting was applied to leadership positions at both the town and village levels, which makes comparable the ‘contractual’ demands on township leaders and village chiefs. The characteristics of the two positions, however, differ significantly, particularly with regards to their consequences in leadership performance and accountability. For instance, a cadre’s career strongly depends on his or her performance assessed by senior and high-level cadres. In contrast, one can only become a village chief through a village election, and once elected, a village chief cannot be dismissed by a township government unless the village chief is convicted of a crime. Furthermore, since a village chief is an elected leader, he or she does not necessarily have a clear and strong career plan akin to that of a cadre, who typically works and seeks to be promoted within the bureaucratic system. For these and other reasons, it is doubtful that the conventional political contracting model can adequately explain the complex relationships that exist today between township leaders and village chiefs in China. My proposed research will address this issue by constructing a new framework to account for the complexities and subtleties that have emerged in the relationships between the two different types of leaders working in their respective spatio-organizational settings under the conditions of rapid socioeconomic and political transformation.