China Research Workshop 中国研究讲座 Lunch Discussion RSVP
Friday, Dec. 1, 2017 | 12:00-1:30 p.m. | GPS 3106 (Large conference Room on bottom level)

"Long-Run Persistence and Interrupted Development: Evidence from The Imperial Civil Service Examination in Historical China"

Presenter: Clair Zhuqing Yang, Assistant Professor, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington

This study examines how the selection of local individuals into national government during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) affected a region's long-run economic development in China. I use historical floods and droughts during triennial Civil Service Examination years as exogenous shocks to the regions' civil exam performances. Results show that producing more Jinshi degree holders during the Ming dynasty enhanced the region's contemporary economic development. Using historical data from the Qing dynasty (1645-1912) to trace the persistence, I show that the impact of Ming civil service exams tends to weaken during periods of political centralization and to re-emerge following liberalization. The Ming dynasty effects appear to persist over a long period of time and survive several changes of political regimes.

Link to working paper:


CRW provides a forum for the presentation of original research by China scholars from around the country in social science and humanities, sponsored by the 21st Century China Center at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy. To view archive and upcoming workshops list, visit:
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