The Selection and Making of Civil Servants: Evidence from China’s College Graduate Civil Services Program

The quality, incentives, and ideologies of local civil servants greatly affect policy implementation and governance efficacy. This project aims to understand what shape the background, preferences, attitudes, and behaviors of civil servants in rural China. We propose to randomly change selection algorithm in half of the job postings of the China’s College Graduate Civil Services Program in Guangdong. Combining the field experiment with surveys and official social security records, we will separately identify the selection margins (who apply to become local civil servants and which applicants the government selects) and the treatment margin (to what extent civil service experience changes the recruited candidates over time). We will provide the first empirical evidence on the treatment effect of civil service experience. It is important to incorporate the treatment margin in order to design the optimal selection mechanism, especially when there are tradeoffs between characteristics that the government deems desirable. 

RFP Cycle:
Fall 2019
  • David Y. Yang
  • Shaoda Wang
  • Pilot project