Personal Ties, Meritocracy, and China's Anti-Corruption Campaign

38 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2016 Last revised: 25 Nov 2018

See all articles by Peter L. Lorentzen

Peter L. Lorentzen

University of San Francisco

Xi Lu

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Date Written: November 21, 2018

Abstract

We examine the targeting and motivations of the first phase of China's anti-corruption campaign under Xi Jinping (2012-2015). Combining data on officials' personal networks revealed during the campaign with biographical and economic data, we find evidence that the campaign indeed targeted corruption. In addition, individuals, networks, and geographic regions that departed sharply from meritocratic governance practices appear to have been a primary target, with higher rates of indictment. This is consistent with the party's own claim that the crackdown was designed to reduce corruption and strengthen party-led meritocracy. However, individuals with personal ties to Xi Jinping appear to be exempt from investigation while, individuals with ties to the other six members of the Politburo Standing Committee had no special protection. Taken together, these findings indicate that the crackdown served both its stated goal of strengthening the party and the unstated goal of consolidating Xi's power.

Keywords: anti-corruption campaign, meritocracy, political purge, economic growth

Suggested Citation

Lorentzen, Peter L. and Lu, Xi, Personal Ties, Meritocracy, and China's Anti-Corruption Campaign (November 21, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2835841 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2835841

Peter L. Lorentzen

University of San Francisco ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.peterlorentzen.com

Xi Lu (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy ( email )

Singapore 117591
Singapore

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