Local Officials' Incentives and China's Economic Growth: Tournament Thesis Reexamined and Alternative Explanatory Framework

18 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2012

See all articles by Fubing Su

Fubing Su

Vassar College

Ran Tao

Renmin University of China

Lu xi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ming Li

Peking University

Date Written: July‐August 2012

Abstract

To explain China's dramatic economic growth, researchers have proposed a “tournament thesis.” According to this thesis, the central government's ability to set growth targets has played a crucial role in growth since political promotion is largely based on local economic growth. We use provincial officials' career mobility data to test this thesis. For both time periods (1979–1995 and 1979–2002), economic performance, measured in annual, average and relative terms, did not affect these officials' career advancement. We then sketch an alternative analytical framework to explain Chinese local officials' strong urge for developmentalism and, finally, draw policy implications from this explanatory framework.

Keywords: career incentive, China, local state developmentalism, tournament thesis

JEL Classification: H7, O53, P3

Suggested Citation

Su, Fubing and Tao, Ran and xi, Lu and Li, Ming, Local Officials' Incentives and China's Economic Growth: Tournament Thesis Reexamined and Alternative Explanatory Framework (July‐August 2012). China & World Economy, Vol. 20, Issue 4, pp. 1-18, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2122191 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-124X.2012.01292.x

Fubing Su (Contact Author)

Vassar College ( email )

124 Raymond Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
United States

Ran Tao

Renmin University of China ( email )

Room B906
Xianjin Building
Beijing, Beijing 100872
China

Lu Xi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Ming Li

Peking University ( email )

No. 38 Xueyuan Road
Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

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