Within-Party Mobility and Economic Performance in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from China

24 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2022 Last revised: 23 Aug 2022

See all articles by Zeren Li

Zeren Li

Yale University

Arthur Yu

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August 22, 2022

Abstract

This study analyses a mechanism to explain how internal mobility in the dominant party enhances economic performance. We argue that authoritarian leaders incentivize their political agents to advance economic development by using age-based promotion and retirement rules. We empirically examine our theoretical claim using China’s cadre rejuvenation policy, which rewards younger leaders with more opportunities for career advancement. Drawing on panel data for prefectural party secretaries who were in office at some point between 2000 and 2012, we show that the principle of youthful rejuvenation leads the Party to grant more promotions to party leaders who enter office at a younger age than to their older counterparts. Under such an incentive scheme, the regions served by younger entrants into the officialdom have better economic performance than those served by older entrants, holding ability and other regional characteristics constant.

Keywords: party mobility, single-party regime, economic performance

Suggested Citation

Li, Zeren and Yu, Zeyang, Within-Party Mobility and Economic Performance in Authoritarian Regimes: Evidence from China (August 22, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4011390 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4011390

Zeren Li (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06510
United States

Zeyang Yu

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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