Does Performance Matter? Evaluating Political Selection along the Chinese Administrative Ladder
Forthcoming at Comparative Political Studies
72 Pages Posted: 21 Aug 2014 Last revised: 7 Jul 2017
Date Written: June 25, 2017
Political selection is central to the survival of all regimes. This paper evaluates the relative importance of performance and political connection for the advancement of local politicians under authoritarianism. We hypothesize that in a large-scale multi-level polity, economic performance plays a greater role in promotion at lower administrative levels of government than at higher ones, even after controlling for political connections. This dualist strategy allows the ruling elites to achieve economic performance while minimizing the advancement of potentially disloyal challengers. Thus, balancing between loyalty and competence among subordinates enhances regime survival. Our empirical evidence draws on a comprehensive panel dataset of provincial, prefectural, and county-level Communist party secretaries and government executives appointed between 1999 and 2007. We find consistent evidence for our argument under various model specifications. We also explore the heterogeneous effects of performance on promotion given the CCP’s age ineligibility rule for cadre promotion and jurisdiction characteristics.
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