Social Ties and the Selection of China's Political Elite
- American Economic Review (Forthcoming)
We study how sharing a hometown or college connection with an
incumbent member of China's Politburo affects a candidate's likelihood of selection as a new member. In specifications that include
fixed effects to absorb quality differences across cities and colleges,
we find that hometown and college connections are each associated with 5-9 percentage point reductions in selection probability.
This "connections penalty" is equally strong for retiring Politburo
members, arguing against quota-based explanations, and it is much
stronger for junior Politburo members, consistent with a role for
intra-factional competition. Our findings differ from earlier work
because of our emphasis on within-group variation, and our focus
on shared hometown and college— rather than shared workplace–connections.
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