Working Paper Series
Ruixue Jia, Masayuki Kudamatsu and David Seim
Political Selection in China: the Complementary Roles of Connections and Performance
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.
Keywords: Political turnover; Economic performance; Personnel control; Social networks; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: H11; H70; J63; P30; (follow links to similar papers)
58 pages, February 7, 2014
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