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Political Selection in China: the Complementary Roles of Connections and Performance

Author

Listed:
  • Jia, Ruixue

    (University of California San Diego)

  • Kudamatsu, Masayuki

    (Institute for International Economic Studies)

  • Seim, David

    () (Department of Economics, University of Toronto)

Abstract

Who becomes a top politician in China? We focus on provincial leaders a pool of candidates for top political office and examine how their chances of promotion depend on their performance in office and connections with top politicians. Our empirical analysis, based on the curriculum vitae of Chinese politicians, shows that connections and performance are complements in the Chinese political selection process. This complementarity is stronger the younger provincial leaders are relative to their connected top leaders. To provide one plausible interpretation of these empirical findings, we propose a simple theory in which the complementarity arises because connections foster loyalty of junior officials to senior ones, thereby allowing incumbent top politicians to select competent provincial leaders without risking being ousted. Auxiliary evidence suggests that the documented promotion pattern does not distort the allocation of talent. Our findings shed some light on why a political system known for patronage can still select competent leaders.

Suggested Citation

  • Jia, Ruixue & Kudamatsu, Masayuki & Seim, David, 2014. "Political Selection in China: the Complementary Roles of Connections and Performance," Working Paper Series 1003, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:1003
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:deveco:v:140:y:2019:i:c:p:223-241 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wang, Li & Menkhoff, Lukas & Schröder, Michael & Xu, Xian, 2019. "Politicians’ promotion incentives and bank risk exposure in China," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 63-94.
    3. Petra Persson & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2016. "The Limits of Career Concerns in Federalism: Evidence from China," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 338-374.
    4. Sergei Guriev, 2019. "Gorbachev versus Deng: A Review of Chris Miller's The Struggle to Save the Soviet Economy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 57(1), pages 120-146, March.
    5. repec:kap:pubcho:v:180:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-019-00649-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bin Wang & Yu Zheng, 2018. "A Model of Tournament Incentives with Corruption," Working Papers 872, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    7. Guo Xu & Marianne Bertrand & Robin Burgess, 2018. "Social Proximity and Bureaucrat Performance: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 25389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. repec:eee:jbfina:v:99:y:2019:i:c:p:142-156 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Olle Folke & Torsten Persson & Johanna Rickne, 2017. "Who Becomes A Politician?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(4), pages 1877-1914.
    10. Hanming Fang & Linke Hou & Mingxing Liu & Lixin Colin Xu & Pengfei Zhang, 2019. "Factions, Local Accountability, and Long-Term Development: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 25901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:eee:enepol:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:201-211 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Matilde Bombardini & Bingjing Li, 2016. "Trade, Pollution and Mortality in China," NBER Working Papers 22804, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. repec:eee:chieco:v:47:y:2018:i:c:p:12-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Suárez Serrato, Juan Carlos & Wang, Xiao Yu & Zhang, Shuang, 2019. "The limits of meritocracy: Screening bureaucrats under imperfect verifiability," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 223-241.
    15. Wu, Mingqin & Chen, Bin, 2016. "Assignment of provincial officials based on economic performance: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 60-75.
    16. Chen, Zhao & Kahn, Matthew E. & Liu, Yu & Wang, Zhi, 2018. "The consequences of spatially differentiated water pollution regulation in China," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 468-485.
    17. Raymond Fisman & Jing Shi & Yongxiang Wang & Rong Xu, 2017. "Social Ties and Favoritism in Chinese Science," NBER Working Papers 23130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. repec:eee:jcecon:v:46:y:2018:i:4:p:1046-1061 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:eee:jeborg:v:158:y:2019:i:c:p:1-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Li Wang & Lukas Menkhoff & Michael Schröder & Xian Xu, 2018. "Politicians' Promotion Incentives and Bank Risk Exposure," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1771, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    21. Patrick Francois & Francesco Trebbi & Kairong Xiao, 2016. "Factions in Nondemocracies: Theory and Evidence from the Chinese Communist Party," NBER Working Papers 22775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Michael Rochlitz, 2016. "Political Loyalty Vs Economic Performance: Evidence from Machine Politics in Russia’S Regions," HSE Working papers WP BRP 34/PS/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    23. repec:eee:chieco:v:50:y:2018:i:c:p:273-293 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. repec:eee:jcecon:v:47:y:2019:i:2:p:263-276 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Pranab Bardhan, 2016. "State and Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 862-892, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political turnover; Economic performance; Personnel control; Social networks;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • P30 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - General

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