Journal of Chinese Political Science

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 519–547 | Cite as

Political Incentives and Local Policy Innovations in China

  • Ciqi MeiEmail author
  • Xiaonan Wang


The government system of China has been well known for its ability to mobilize its local leaders through career incentives. Does this system also encourage local policy innovation? This paper tests the relation between career advancement and local policy innovation with a self-compiled dataset on local innovation and local leaders’ career paths in 16 deputy-provincial level municipalities. We find a strong positive relationship between reported local policy innovation concerning economic issues and local leaders’ career advancement from 1980 to 2008, while the relationship between the number of innovations in other policy areas and promotion is insignificant. This finding deepens our understanding of both the promotion system for Chinese local leaders and motivations for local policy innovation.


Cadre Management Policy Innovation Promotion 


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Copyright information

© Journal of Chinese Political Science/Association of Chinese Political Studies 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Public Policy and ManagementTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Government and PoliticsUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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