NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Limits of Meritocracy: Screening Bureaucrats Under Imperfect Verifiability

Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato, Xiao Yu Wang, Shuang Zhang

NBER Working Paper No. 21963
Issued in February 2016, Revised in May 2017

---- Acknowledgements ----

Previously circulated as "The Limits of Political Meritocracy: Screening Mayors in China Under Imperfect Verifiability." We thank Douglas Almond, Kehinde Ajayi, Attila Ambrus, Abhijit Banerjee, Pat Bayer, Charlie Becker, Prashant Bharadwaj, Allan Collard-Wexler, Julie Cullen, Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, Erica Field, Raquel Fernandez, Fred Finan, Rob Garlick, Gopi Goda, Cynthia Kinnan, David Lam, Danielle Li, Hugh Macartney, Matt Masten, Michael Powell, Nancy Qian, Debraj Ray, Orie Shelef, Erik Snowberg, Duncan Thomas, Chris Udry, Daniel Xu, Xiaoxue Zhao, and participants in the NBER/BREAD Fall Development Meetings, the Duke Labor/Development seminar, the Colegio de Mexico seminar, the 2015World Congress of the Econometric Society, the 2015 Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory, NEUDC Brown, the Stanford GSB PE seminar, and the NYU Development seminar for helpful comments. This paper was previously circulated under the title “The One Child Policy and Promotion of Mayors in China.” Suárez Serrato and Zhang thank the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) for financial support. Suárez Serrato gratefully acknowledges support from the Kauffman Foundation. We thank Pawel Charasz, Stephanie Karol, Han Gao, Matt Panhans, and Victor Ye for providing excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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