Career Backgrounds of Municipal Party Secretaries in China: Why Do So Few Municipal Party Secretaries Rise from the County Level?

  • Kostka G
  • Xiaofan Y
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This article examines the career backgrounds of municipal Chinese Communist Party secretaries between 1990 and 2011. Based on an analysis of 898 cadre biographies and 32 interviews with local government officials during 2011 and 2013, this article shows that the majority of municipal party secretaries had spent their careers working at the provincial and municipal levels, while only few advanced up from the county. Our analysis finds that obstacles hindering leading county cadres from rising to the upper ranks of the municipal apparatus include age and education restrictions; limited positions at the municipal level; the lack of networks linking to provincial leaders; and provincial leaders’ appointment preferences. Limited career advancement opportunities for county cadres have important implications for understanding the incentive foundations of China’s bureaucracy. With only slim prospects for leading county cadres to rise to top municipal positions, the political incentives outlined in the cadre evalu...

Author-supplied keywords

  • China
  • cadre management system
  • career advancement
  • county cadres
  • incentives

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  • Genia Kostka

  • Yu Xiaofan

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