The Impact of Chinese Communist Party Membership on Income
Thomas, Adam T
Since China's 1978 economic reforms, it has experienced rapid growth as well as increased income inequality. Research finds that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members enjoy certain benefits that are not available to non-members, which may contribute to the country’s income inequality. I use the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) 2015 to estimate the relationship between party membership and individual annual income. My results suggest that CCP membership is associated with higher income, controlling for personal traits and family background characteristics. However, the advantage of CCP membership disappears once career background characteristics are controlled for. I also find that CCP membership matters more for more vulnerable members of the Chinese population. I conclude that the desirability of CCP membership may reflect the fact that CCP affiliation provides political protection from an authoritarian government.
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