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Complementary Roles of Connections and Performance in Political Selection in China


  • Jia, Ruixue
  • Kudamatsu, Masayuki
  • Seim, David


Who becomes a top politician in China? We focus on provincial leaders, a pool of candidates for top political office, and examine how their chance of being promoted depends on performance - measured by provincial economic growth - and connections with top politicians - measured by past joint work in the same branch of government. A simple theoretical framework suggests that performance and connections may interact, an aspect ignored in the previous literature. Over the period 1993-2009, we find a positive correlation between promotion and growth that is robustly stronger for connected provincial leaders than for unconnected ones. This evidence indicates that performance and connections are complements in the Chinese political selection process. Auxiliary evidence suggests that the documented promotion pattern does not distort the allocation of talent.

Suggested Citation

  • Jia, Ruixue & Kudamatsu, Masayuki & Seim, David, 2013. "Complementary Roles of Connections and Performance in Political Selection in China," CEPR Discussion Papers 9523, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9523

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Jason Dana & Roberto Weber & Jason Kuang, 2007. "Exploiting moral wiggle room: experiments demonstrating an illusory preference for fairness," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 33(1), pages 67-80, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cao, Xun & Kleit, Andrew & Liu, Chuyu, 2016. "Why invest in wind energy? Career incentives and Chinese renewable energy politics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 120-131.
    2. Wang, Danli & Chong, Terence Tai Leung, 2015. "Political Turnover and the Stock Performance of SOEs in China," MPRA Paper 68459, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Barbara Krug & Alexander Libman, 2015. "Commitment to local autonomy in non-democracies: Russia and China compared," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 221-245, June.

    More about this item


    Chinese provincial leaders; political selection in autocracy; promotion; social networks;

    JEL classification:

    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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