"The Economic Consequences of Political Disloyalty: An Experimental Study of Ideological Allegiance in China’s Labor Market"
Presenter: Jennifer Pan, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Stanford University
Abstract: The study of symbolic politics—compliance with the signs, slogans, and ritual acts of autocrats to symbolize their authority—has receive relatively little attention in recent years. However, symbolic politics continue to feature prominently in many non- democratic regimes. We experimentally assess the importance of symbolic displays of ideological loyalty on economic outcomes with a resume audit study in China. We submit 19,221 resumes that randomly vary job applicant characteristics, including ideological orientation, to job openings in labor markets throughout China. We find that job applicants who engage in overt displays of ideological allegiance do not have higher employer callback rates than non-ideological applicants; however, job applicants who signal disloyalty to CCP ideology by participating in a Western Political Philosophy Study Group and by espousing beliefs such as “I believe adopting Western style democracy and multi-party system can help China develop” are nine percent less likely to receive employer callbacks than applicants who are non-ideological. We find this effect for both government and private sector jobs, and the size of this effect is similar to that of gender discrimination in China’s labor market. With the exception of foreign firms, callbacks are higher for loyal applicants of average academic merit than disloyal applicants of high academic merit.
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