The Institution of Merit: A Study of Chinese College Admissions

76 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2019

See all articles by Jimmy Chan

Jimmy Chan

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics

Zhi Wang

Fudan University - School of Economics

Shunyi Zhao

University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics, Students

Date Written: July 20, 2019

Abstract

We empirically estimate a model of Chinese college admissions to understand the factors that drive the unequal geographical distribution of of elite college places in China. We find that elite Chinese universities have remarkably similar preferences. But, contrary to popular beliefs, there is little evidence that elite Chinese universities favor home-province applicants. Rather, they consistently prefer students from richer provinces even though college tuition fees in China are fixed by the government at a low level and play little role in screening students. One possibility is that universities prefer students with higher ability and richer provinces spend more on pre-college education.

JEL Classification: I20, D40

Suggested Citation

Chan, Jimmy and Wang, Zhi and Zhao, Shunyi, The Institution of Merit: A Study of Chinese College Admissions (July 20, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3423896

Jimmy Chan (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong

Zhi Wang

Fudan University - School of Economics ( email )

600 GuoQuan Road
Shanghai, 200433
China

Shunyi Zhao

University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Economics, Students ( email )

160 McNeil Building
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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