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The Wage Premium of Communist Party Membership: Evidence from China

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  • Plamen Nikolov
  • Hongjian Wang
  • Kevin Acker

Abstract

Social status and political connections could confer large economic benefits to an individual. Previous studies focused on China examine the relationship between Communist party membership and earnings and find a positive correlation. However, this correlation may be partly or totally spurious, thereby generating upwards-biased estimates of the importance of political party membership. Using data from three surveys spanning more than three decades, we estimate the causal effect of Chinese party membership on monthly earnings in in China. We find that, on average, membership in the Communist party of China increases monthly earnings and we find evidence that the wage premium has grown in recent years. We explore for potential mechanisms and we find suggestive evidence that improvements in one's social network, acquisition of job-related qualifications and improvement in one's social rank and life satisfaction likely play an important role. (JEL D31, J31, P2)

Suggested Citation

  • Plamen Nikolov & Hongjian Wang & Kevin Acker, 2020. "The Wage Premium of Communist Party Membership: Evidence from China," Papers 2007.13549, arXiv.org.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2007.13549
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    Cited by:

    1. Xinxin Ma & Ichiro Iwasaki, 2021. "Does communist party membership bring a wage premium in China? a meta-analysis," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 55-94, January.

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    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies

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