When Provincial Officials are in Office, Hometowns Benefit: Zhongshan University Professors

Title: Officials prefer their places of origin (官员偏爱籍贯地的机制研究)
Journal: Economic Research (经济研究)
Authors: Xu Xianxiang, Zhongshan University (徐现祥); Li Shujuan, Zhongshan University (李书娟)
Publication: July 2019

  • Authors Xu and Li evaluated the economic performance of the hometown counties of 203 provincial party secretaries and governors (the most senior officials in a Chinese province) from 1993-2013.

  • During the periods when those senior officials were in office, their places of origin experienced increases in manufacturing capital by 1.5 percent, number of firms entering home county markets increased by 9 percent, immigration increased by 4 percent, and overall economic growth rates were 2 percent greater than other neighboring counties, Xu and Li report.

  • That these officials appeared to drive investment back to their hometown counties is an unexpected phenomenon, the authors note, since the economic performance of an official’s place of origin has no bearing on his/her performance evaluation or career progression. In China, in most cases, senior officials at the provincial-level do not serve or preside over regions that include their hometown, in part, to discourage local preference.

Note: Chinese Academy of Social Sciences publishes the Economic Research.