The Institution of Merit: A Study of Chinese College Admissions
72 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2019 Last revised: 13 Apr 2020
Date Written: July 20, 2019
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
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