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Article
Homophily in the career mobility of China’s political elite
Social Science Research (2015)
  • Sonja OPPER
  • Victor NEE
  • Stefan Brehm
Abstract
We argue that leadership promotion in China’s political elite relies on homophily for signals of trustworthiness and future cooperative behavior more than on economic performance. We first point to the limitation of the economic performance argument from within the framework of China’s specific M-form state structure, and then we proffer a sociological explanation for why higher-level elites in China rely on homophilous associations in recruiting middle-level elites to the top positions of state. Using a unique dataset covering China’s provincial leaders from 1979 to 2011, we develop a homophily index focusing on joint origin, joint education and joint work experience. We trace personal similarities in these respects between provincial leaders and members of China’s supreme decision-making body, the Politbureau’s Standing Committee. We then provide robust evidence confirming the persisting impact of homophilous associations on promotion patterns in post-reform China.
Keywords
  • Political elite; Promotion; Homophily; China
Publication Date
November, 2015
Citation Information
Sonja OPPER, Victor NEE and Stefan Brehm. "Homophily in the career mobility of China’s political elite" Social Science Research Vol. 54 (2015) p. 332 - 352
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stefan_brehm/11/