Education and the Meritocratic Recruitment of Bureaucrats

Posted: 5 May 2020 Last revised: 20 May 2021

See all articles by Huayu Xu

Huayu Xu

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics

Achyuta Adhvaryu

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: April 2, 2020

Abstract

Do merit-based recruitment policies encourage individuals to climb socioeconomic ladders? We provide evidence from historical Taiwan, where elite bureaucrats were recruited through a civil service examination. Quotas for successful candidates were set based on the 1948 populations of individuals’ native provinces in mainland China, resulting in highly preferential quotas for certain groups. This system was abruptly replaced in 1962 by a uniform admissions policy. We leverage this variation to study the impacts of differential access to elite bureaucratic posts. We find that the additional incentives created by preferential quotas increased human capital accumulation and resulted in better long-run economic outcomes.

Keywords: merit-based recruitment, bureaucrats, human capital, return to schooling, civil service exam, Taiwan

JEL Classification: D73, I26, J24, O15

Suggested Citation

Xu, Huayu and Adhvaryu, Achyuta, Education and the Meritocratic Recruitment of Bureaucrats (April 2, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3567088 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3567088

Huayu Xu (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States

Achyuta Adhvaryu

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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