The Making of Bad Gentry: The Abolition of Keju, Local Governance and Anti-Elite Protests, 1902-1911

63 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2021

See all articles by Yu Hao

Yu Hao

Peking University - School of Economics

Kevin Zhengcheng Liu

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business and Economics

Xi Weng

Peking University

Li‐An Zhou

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management

Date Written: February 18, 2021

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of the abolition of the civil service exam on rural local governance in early 20th century China. Before the abolition, local elites collected surtaxes that financed local public goods, but they were supervised by the state and could lose their candidacy for higher status if they engaged in corrupt behavior. This prospect of upward mobility (POUM) gave them incentives to behave well, which the abolition of the exam removed. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that prefectures with a higher POUM before the abolition experienced more incidents of anti-elite protests after the abolition.

Suggested Citation

Hao, Yu and Liu, Kevin Zhengcheng and Weng, Xi and Zhou, Li‐An, The Making of Bad Gentry: The Abolition of Keju, Local Governance and Anti-Elite Protests, 1902-1911 (February 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3796884 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3796884

Yu Hao (Contact Author)

Peking University - School of Economics ( email )

Beijing
China

Kevin Zhengcheng Liu

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong
China

HOME PAGE: http://https://zhengcheng-liu.weebly.com/

Xi Weng

Peking University ( email )

Beijing, 100871
China

Li‐An Zhou

Peking University - Guanghua School of Management

Peking University
Beijing, Beijing 100871
China

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