Becoming Political Candidates in China: Elite University Network and Selectoral Advantage

53 Pages Posted: 7 May 2019 Last revised: 20 Jun 2019

See all articles by Hanzhang Liu

Hanzhang Liu

University of Pennsylvania - Center for the Study of Contemporary China

Yuhua Wang

Department of Government, Harvard University

Date Written: June 18, 2019

Abstract

Whether a political system can attract high-quality candidates is key to producing high-quality politicians. In this article, we examine the issue of candidate pool formation in developing countries where elections are absent. We argue that a government can attract competent individuals to become candidates when it can provide them with a significant selectoral advantage. Exploiting a natural experiment in China, where universities adopt an arbitrary score cutoff to enroll students, we show that students attending top elite universities, which enjoy strong alumni networks in politics, are more likely to be interested in a political career than their peers in other universities. Analysis of an original online survey confirms that alumni networks serve as a causal mechanism by enhancing elite university students’ future prospect in political selection. Our study differs from existing research that focuses on the role of election in choosing the “good types” and shows that social networks can serve as an effective instrument to attract the best talents to work for the government.

Keywords: Political Selection, Nascent Political Ambition, Candidate Pool Formation, Natural Experiment, China

Suggested Citation

Liu, Hanzhang and Wang, Yuhua, Becoming Political Candidates in China: Elite University Network and Selectoral Advantage (June 18, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3352051 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3352051

Hanzhang Liu

University of Pennsylvania - Center for the Study of Contemporary China ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Yuhua Wang (Contact Author)

Department of Government, Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
42
Abstract Views
199
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations will be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information