Rotating to the Top: How Career Tracks Matter in the Chinese Communist Party

55 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ruixue Jia

Ruixue Jia

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - 21st Century China Center

Yiqing Xu

Stanford University

Date Written: August 31, 2018

Abstract

This paper takes a novel perspective on the selection of leaders in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by focusing on career tracks of high-level CCP officials. Career tracks are defined as clusters of similar career trajectories with respect to both vertical and horizontal movements. We measure career tracks of full and alternate CCP Central Committee members from 1982 to 2017 using machine learning techniques and investigate their role in political selection. We find that the career tracks corresponding to high starting positions and frequent rotations are associated with significantly higher probabilities of obtaining top leadership positions in the CCP despite the influence of patronage networks. Moreover, when comparing the relative importance of career tracks and personal connections over time, we find suggestive evidence that the Chinese political system has become more personalistic in the past few years.

Suggested Citation

Jia, Ruixue and Xu, Yiqing, Rotating to the Top: How Career Tracks Matter in the Chinese Communist Party (August 31, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3613276 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3613276

Ruixue Jia

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - 21st Century China Center ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive #0519
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

Yiqing Xu (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://yiqingxu.org

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