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Social Ties and Favoritism in Chinese Science

Raymond Fisman, Jing Shi, Yongxiang Wang, Rong Xu

NBER Working Paper No. 23130
Issued in February 2017
NBER Program(s):Development Economics, Labor Studies, Political Economy

We study favoritism via hometown ties, a common source of favor exchange in China, in fellow selection of the Chinese Academies of Sciences and Engineering. Hometown ties to fellow selection committee members increase candidates' election probability by 39 percent, coming entirely from the selection stage involving an in-person meeting. Elected hometown-connected candidates are half as likely to have a high-impact publication as elected fellows without connections. CAS/CAE membership increases the probability of university leadership appointments and is associated with a US$9.5 million increase in annual funding for fellows' institutions, indicating that hometown favoritism has potentially large effects on resource allocation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23130

Published: Raymond Fisman & Jing Shi & Yongxiang Wang & Rong Xu, 2018. "Social Ties and Favoritism in Chinese Science," Journal of Political Economy, vol 126(3), pages 1134-1171.

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