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Media: Marginal Revolution
How should the quality of government be measured across disparate national contexts? This study develops a new approach using an original survey of Chinese civil servants and a comparison to the United States. We surveyed over 2,500 Chinese municipal officials on three organizational features of their bureaucracies: meritocracy, individual autonomy, and morale. They report greater meritocracy than U.S. federal employees in almost all American agencies. China's edge is smaller in autonomy and markedly smaller in morale. Differences between the U.S. and China lessen, but do not disappear, after adjusting for respondent demographics and excluding respondents most likely to be influenced by social desirability biases. Our findings contrast with numerous indices of good government that rank the U.S. far above China. They suggest that incorporating the opinions of political insiders into quality of government indices may challenge the foundations of a large body of cross-national governance research.
Does Compliance Pay? Firm-level Trade and Social Institutions. 2016. with Richard M. Locke.
Revise and resubmit.
How does international trade shape social institutions in the developing world? The research literature is conflicted: importing firms may demand their trading partners adhere to higher labor and environmental standards, or they may penalize higher standards that raise costs. This study offers the first large-scale analysis of how firm-level trade responds to information about social standards. Contrary to the “race to the bottom” hypothesis, it finds that importers reward exporters for complying with labor and environmental standards. In difference-in-differences estimates from over two thousand manufacturing establishments in 36 countries, achieving compliance is associated a 4% [1%, 7%] average increase in annual purchasing. The effect is robust to controlling for manufacturing performance and reflects both rewards for reaching compliance and penalties for falling out of compliance. The results suggest that activist campaigns and transnational private regulation have created economic incentives for higher social standards in certain trade relationships.
Grassroots Participation and Repression in Contemporary China. Forthcoming. with Diana Fu.
The China Journal. SSRN
The Power of Empty Promises: Quasi-democratic Institutions and Activism in China. 2017.
Comparative Political Studies. 50(4): 464-498. pdf | SSRN
Making Chinese Officials Accountable, Blog by Blog. with Diana Fu and Yue Hou. Boston Review.
Constituency Service Under Nondemocratic Rule: Evidence from China. 2017. with Yue Hou.
The Journal of Politics, DOI: 10.1086/690948 SSRN
Does Lean Improve Labor Standards? Management and Social Performance in the Nike Supply Chain. 2017. with Jens Hainmueller and Richard M. Locke.
Management Science, 63(3): 707-728. SSRN
Can Lean Manufacturing Put an End to Sweatshops? Harvard Business Review, Digital Article.
How to Improve Working Conditions in the Developing World, Insights by Stanford Business.
Production Goes Global, Compliance Stays Local: Private Regulation in the Global Electronics Industry. 2015. with Richard M. Locke, Timea Pal, and Hiram Samel.
Regulation & Governance 9(3): 224-242. pdf | SSRN
Ingroup Bias in Official Behavior: A National Field Experiment in China. 2014. with Yue Hou.
Quarterly Journal of Political Science 9(2): 203-230. pdf | SSRN