2015

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

Reprint No. 2015:64

Author(s): Ruixue Jia, Masayuki Kudamatsu and David SeimYear: 2015 Title: Journal of the European Economic Association Volume (No.): 13 (4) Pages: 631–668
Online article (restrictions may apply)
Preliminary version


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. Our findings shed some light on why a political system known for patronage can still select competent leaders.


Reference:
Jia, Ruixue, Masayuki Kudamatsu and David Seim (2015), "Political Selection in China: The Complementary Roles of Connections and Performance". Journal of the European Economic Association 13(4), 631–668.

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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