IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/deveco/v141y2019ics0304387818315475.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Farewell to confucianism: The modernizing effect of dismantling China's imperial examination system

Author

Listed:
  • Bai, Ying

Abstract

This study uses 1899–1908 prefecture-level panel data to assess how the likelihood of passing the civil service examination affected modernization before and after the examination system's abolition. Because higher quotas were assigned to prefectures with an agricultural tax of over 150,000 piculs, we use a regression discontinuity design to generate an instrument that resolves potential endogeneity and ensures robust results. We find that following abolition, prefectures with higher quotas of successful candidates tended to establish more modern firms and send more students for overseas study in Japan. A subsequent analysis using an individual dataset further shows that the skill level of these overseas students increased after abolition, especially in regions with higher per capita quotas. This finding implies that the examination system led to substantial misallocation of talents.

Suggested Citation

  • Bai, Ying, 2019. "Farewell to confucianism: The modernizing effect of dismantling China's imperial examination system," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:141:y:2019:i:c:s0304387818315475
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.102382
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304387818315475
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.102382?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1993. "Why Is Rent-Seeking So Costly to Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 409-414, May.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Cantoni & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2011. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3286-3307, December.
    3. La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997. "Trust in Large Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-338, May.
    4. Hans-Joachim Voth, 2013. "The Three Horsemen of Riches: Plague, War, and Urbanization in Early Modern Europe," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 774-811.
    5. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
    6. Daron Acemoglu, 2008. "Oligarchic Versus Democratic Societies," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-44, March.
    7. Davide Cantoni & Noam Yuchtman, 2014. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 823-887.
    8. Ni, Shawn & Van, Pham Hoang, 2006. "High corruption income in Ming and Qing China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 316-336, December.
    9. Baumol, William J., 1996. "Entrepreneurship: Productive, unproductive, and destructive," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-22, January.
    10. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    11. Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2013. "The political economy of educational content and development: Lessons from history," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 233-244.
    12. David S. Landes, 2006. "Why Europe and the West? Why Not China?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
    13. Robert C. Allen & Jean-Pascal Bassino & Debin Ma & Christine Moll-Murata & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2011. "Wages, prices, and living standards in China, 1738–1925: in comparison with Europe, Japan, and India," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 64, pages 8-38, February.
    14. Mokyr, Joel, 2005. "The Intellectual Origins of Modern Economic Growth," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 285-351, June.
    15. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    16. Ying Bai & James Kai-sing Kung, 2015. "Diffusing Knowledge While Spreading God'S Message: Protestantism And Economic Prosperity In China, 1840–1920," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 669-698, August.
    17. Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2013. "The political economy of educational content and development: Lessons from history," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 233-244.
    18. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1991. "The Allocation of Talent: Implications for Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 503-530.
    19. Nico Voigtländer & Hans-Joachim Voth, 2006. "Why England? Demographic factors, structural change and physical capital accumulation during the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-361, December.
    20. Ying Bai & Ruixue Jia, 2016. "Elite Recruitment and Political Stability: The Impact of the Abolition of China's Civil Service Exam," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 677-733, March.
    21. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769, April.
    22. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson, 2005. "Unbundling Institutions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 949-995, October.
    23. Davide Cantoni & Noam Yuchtman, 2014. "Medieval Universities, Legal Institutions, and the Commercial Revolution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 823-887.
    24. Allen,Robert C., 2009. "The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521868273, December.
    25. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1995. "The Needham Puzzle: Why the Industrial Revolution Did Not Originate in China," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 269-292, January.
    26. repec:hrv:faseco:30726298 is not listed on IDEAS
    27. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    28. Acemoglu, Daron, 1995. "Reward structures and the allocation of talent," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-33, January.
    29. Yuchtman, Noam, 2017. "Teaching to the tests: An economic analysis of traditional and modern education in late imperial and republican China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 70-90.
    30. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    31. Gregory Clark & Robert C. Feenstra, 2003. "Technology in the Great Divergence," NBER Chapters, in: Globalization in Historical Perspective, pages 277-322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Vu, Tien Manh & Yamada, Hiroyuki, 2020. "Persistent legacy of the 1075–1919 Vietnamese imperial examinations in contemporary quantity and quality of education," MPRA Paper 100860, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Vu, Tien Manh & Yamada, Hiroyuki, 2020. "The persisting legacies of imperial elites among contemporary top-ranked Vietnamese politicians," MPRA Paper 100861, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Yuchtman, Noam, 2017. "Teaching to the tests: An economic analysis of traditional and modern education in late imperial and republican China," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 70-90.
    2. Wolfgang Keller & Carol H. Shiue, 2016. "Market Integration as a Mechanism of Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 6070, CESifo.
    3. Bautista, M. A. & González, F. & Martínez, L. R. & Muñoz, P. & Prem, M., 2020. "Chile’s Missing Students: Dictatorship, Higher Education and Social Mobility," Documentos de Trabajo 018163, Universidad del Rosario.
    4. Jeffrey Smith & Arthur Sweetman, 2016. "Viewpoint: Estimating the causal effects of policies and programs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(3), pages 871-905, August.
    5. Iacopetta, Maurizio, 2021. "Class differences and the Commercial Revolution: An equilibrium selection story," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    6. Emily Rauscher & Byeongdon Oh, 2021. "Going Places: Effects of Early U.S. Compulsory Schooling Laws on Internal Migration," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 40(2), pages 255-283, April.
    7. Emily Rauscher & Byeongdon Oh, 0. "Going Places: Effects of Early U.S. Compulsory Schooling Laws on Internal Migration," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 0, pages 1-29.
    8. Balan, David J. & Knack, Stephen, 2012. "The correlation between human capital and morality and its effect on economic performance: Theory and evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 457-475.
    9. Mark Dincecco & Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato, 2016. "Military conflict and the rise of urban Europe," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 259-282, September.
    10. Vu, Trung V., 2019. "Does institutional quality foster economic complexity?," MPRA Paper 97843, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Jamie D. Collins & Jeffery S. McMullen & Christopher R. Reutzel, 2016. "Distributive justice, corruption, and entrepreneurial behavior," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 981-1006, December.
    12. Vergolini, Loris & Zanini, Nadir, 2015. "Away, but not too far from home. The effects of financial aid on university enrolment decisions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 91-109.
    13. Nunn, Nathan, 2007. "Historical legacies: A model linking Africa's past to its current underdevelopment," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 157-175, May.
    14. Cantoni, Davide & Yuchtman, Noam, 2013. "The political economy of educational content and development: Lessons from history," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 233-244.
    15. Andrew E. Clark & Elena Stancanelli, 2016. "Individual Well-Being and the Allocation of Time Before and After the Boston Marathon Terrorist Bombing," PSE Working Papers hal-01302843, HAL.
    16. Luís Felipe Batista de Oliveira & Rafael Terra, 2016. "Impact of school day extension on educational outcomes: evidence from Mais Educação in Brazil," One Pager 329, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    17. Paco Martorell & Damon Clark, 2010. "The Signaling Value of a High School Diploma," Working Papers 1248, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    18. Natkhov, T. & Polishchuk, L., 2017. "Political Economy of Institutions and Development: The Importance of Being Inclusive. Reflection on "Why Nations Fail" by D. Acemoglu and J. Robinson. Part I. Institutions and Economic Devel," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 12-38.
    19. Fabio Mariani, 2007. "Migration as an antidote to rent-seeking?," Post-Print halshs-00186460, HAL.
    20. Randall Morck & Michael Percy & Gloria Tian & Bernard Yeung, 2005. "The Rise and Fall of the Widely Held Firm: A History of Corporate Ownership in Canada," NBER Chapters, in: A History of Corporate Governance around the World: Family Business Groups to Professional Managers, pages 65-148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Imperial civil examination; Incentive; Modern firms; Overseas study;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • N95 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:141:y:2019:i:c:s0304387818315475. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.