Education and Innovation: The Long Shadow of the Cultural Revolution

47 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2020 Last revised: 17 Aug 2020

See all articles by Zhangkai Huang

Zhangkai Huang

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Gordon M. Phillips

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Yang Jialun

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management

Cherry Yi Zhang

Nottingham University Business School China; Massey University - School of Economics and Finance

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Date Written: May 21, 2020

Abstract

The Cultural Revolution deprived Chinese students of the opportunity to receive higher education for 10 years when colleges and universities were closed from 1966-1976. We examine the human capital cost of this loss of education on subsequent innovation by firms, and ask if it impacted firms more than 30 years later. We examine the innovation of firms with CEOs who turned 18 during the Cultural Revolution, which sharply reduced their chances of attending college. Using multiple approaches to control for selection and endogeneity, including an instrument based on whether the CEO turned 18 during the Cultural Revolution and a regression discontinuity approach, we show that Chinese firms led by CEOs without a college degree spend less on R&D, generate fewer patents, and receive fewer citations to these patents.

Keywords: Innovation, Education, Cultural Revolution, China, R&D

JEL Classification: G20, G32, I23, I25, I26, L26

Suggested Citation

Huang, Zhangkai and Phillips, Gordon M. and Jialun, Yang and Zhang, Cherry Yi, Education and Innovation: The Long Shadow of the Cultural Revolution (May 21, 2020). Tuck School of Business Working Paper No. 3560399, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3560399 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3560399

Zhangkai Huang

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management ( email )

Beijing, 100084
China

Gordon M. Phillips (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Tuck School of Business ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yang Jialun

Tsinghua University - School of Economics & Management ( email )

Beijing, 100084
China

Cherry Yi Zhang

Nottingham University Business School China ( email )

199 Taikang East Rd.
Ningbo, 315100
China

Massey University - School of Economics and Finance ( email )

New Zealand

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