NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

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 2019
NBER Program(s):Development Economics Program, Labor Studies Program, Public Economics Program, Political Economy Program

Does bureaucratic ability predict promotion in governments? We show that self-reported performance in enforcing the One Child Policy predicts mayoral promotion in China. However, misreporting handicaps screening—a non-manipulated performance measure does not predict promotion. We show that this is consistent with a model where a government has a meritocratic objective but underestimates the imperfect verifiability of performance, rather than a model where a government is only interested in the illusion of meritocracy. Thus, despite meritocratic intentions, we challenge the notion that a successful promotion system effectively substituted for democratic institutions in explaining Chinese growth.

download in pdf format
   (1299 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21963

Published: Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Xiao Yu Wang & Shuang Zhang, 2019. "The limits of meritocracy: Screening bureaucrats under imperfect verifiability," Journal of Development Economics, . citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Lin, Morck, Yeung, and Zhao w22001 Anti-Corruption Reforms and Shareholder Valuations: Event Study Evidence from China
Chen, Ren, and Zha w21890 What We Learn from China's Rising Shadow Banking: Exploring the Nexus of Monetary Tightening and Banks' Role in Entrusted Lending
Barro w21872 Economic Growth and Convergence, Applied Especially to China
Almond, Li, and Zhang w19153 Land Reform and Sex Selection in China
Qian w14973 Quantity-Quality and the One Child Policy:The Only-Child Disadvantage in School Enrollment in Rural China
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us