The economics of communist party membership: The curious case of rising numbers and wage premium during China's transition

Simon Appleton, John Knight, Lina Song, Qingjie Xia

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As the Chinese Communist Party has loosened its grip in a more market-oriented economy, why have membership and the economic benefits of joining risen? We use three national household surveys over 11 years to answer this question for wages in urban China. Individual demand for Party membership is treated as an investment in 'political capital' that brings monetary rewards in terms of a wage premium that has risen in recent years. However, this does not explain why the wage premium is higher for the personal characteristics that reduce the probability of membership. Rationing with a scarcity value for members with those characteristics provides an explanation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-275
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development

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