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Social Ties and Favoritism in Chinese Science


  • Raymond Fisman
  • Jing Shi
  • Yongxiang Wang
  • Rong Xu


We study favoritism via hometown ties, a common source of favor exchange in China, in fellow selection of the Chinese Academies of Sciences and Engineering. Hometown ties to fellow selection committee members increase candidates' election probability by 39 percent, coming entirely from the selection stage involving an in-person meeting. Elected hometown-connected candidates are half as likely to have a high-impact publication as elected fellows without connections. CAS/CAE membership increases the probability of university leadership appointments and is associated with a US$9.5 million increase in annual funding for fellows' institutions, indicating that hometown favoritism has potentially large effects on resource allocation.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23130
    Note: DEV LS POL

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pei Liu & Dong Mu & Daqing Gong, 2017. "Eliminating Overload Trucking via a Modal Shift to Achieve Intercity Freight Sustainability: A System Dynamics Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-24, March.
    2. Shu-gang Li & Hai-qing Shuang & Hong-sheng Wang & Ki-Il Song & Lang Liu, 2017. "Extraction of Pressurized Gas in Low Air-Conductivity Coal Seam Using Drainage Roadway," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-11, February.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:6:p:892-:d:99537 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1502-:d:109561 is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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