The Economics of China's State Personnel Management: Rents, Incentives and Public Sector Reforms

Project: Research

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In this project, I propose to use a theoretical approach that is based on the recent development in the theory of incentives and mechanism design to formally examine the incentives of the government officials at various levels of the bureaucratic system. Assuming all economic agents pursue self-interests, I model explicitly both the officials' performance and rent-seeking behavior given the current tournament-like incentive scheme and ask, first, what is the best outcome under the tournament-type incentive scheme; and second, whether particular public sector reform proposals will improve upon that. A database of the career paths of China’s senior officials from 1990 to the present will be built. Predictions from the theory will be tested against the data. Finally, the model will enable the evaluations of some policy experiments currently conducted locally in China: relaxing the political tenure system and increasing open competition for government posts. Whether the observed outcomes from a local experiment can be generalized to the entire country requires a more theoretical approach to the problem. It is this gap that I intend to fill with this project.


Project number9042003
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/1415/12/16