Locking in Fair Weather Friends: Assessing the Fate of Chinese Communist Elite When Their Patrons Fall from Power
20 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 15, 2018
A growing literature shows robust evidence that patronage by high level politicians greatly enhanced officials’ chance of promotion in the largest one-party dictatorship in the world, China. There has been few works on whether patrons’ exits, even when they were retirements, had an impact on a followers’ career prospects. This question concerns the core theoretical issue of whether factional ties are self-enforcing mechanisms. That is, patron-client relationships are only useful for patrons if they knew that clients would suffer if they fell from power. This mechanism creates strong incentives for clients to engage in political struggle on behalf of their patrons, regardless of the patrons’ monitoring capacity. We control for a range of unobserved heterogeneity and show that patrons’ exits from the political elite had a significantly negative impact on a clients’ chance of promotion and also diminished their chance of retaining their incumbent positions.
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