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The limits of career concerns in federalism: evidence from China

Listed author(s):
  • Petra Persson

    (Stanford University [Stanford])

  • Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Performance-based promotion schemes in administrative hierarchies have limitations. Chinese provincial leaders, despite facing strong career concerns, make different policy decisions depending on their career backgrounds. Provincial party secretaries who have risen from low to high positions within the province they govern (“locals”) spend a higher share of budgetary resources on education and health care and invest less in construction infrastructure than party secretaries who have made their most significant career advancements in other provinces (“outsiders”). Identification comes from variation in central leadership and term limits. As the promotion mechanism rewards infrastructure investments, locals are less likely to be promoted at the end of the term. We explore various mechanisms and provide evidence that the difference between locals and outsiders is not driven by knowledge or experience. Several pieces of evidence suggest that locals cater to low-level provincial elites, who helped them rise to power. Thus, local career trajectories limit the power of career concerns by fostering competing allegiances.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" with number halshs-01313799.

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Date of creation: Apr 2016
Publication status: Published in Journal of the European Economic Association, Wiley, 2016, 14 (2), pp.338-374. 〈10.1111/jeea.12142〉
Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-01313799
DOI: 10.1111/jeea.12142
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01313799
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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