Topic:The Institution of Merit: A Chinese Case Study
Speaker:WANG Zhi,the School of Economics in Fudan University
Place:Room 217, Guanghua Building 2
While it is now commonly accepted that places at elite colleges should be allocated by merit, there is little consensus on how merit should be measured and whether the same standard of merit should apply uniformly to applicants with very different backgrounds.In this paper, we investigate how elite Chinese universities choose between applicants from different provinces. We construct a model that captures the key features of the Chinese system. In our model, universities care about student quality, but may disagree over the student quality in different provinces. We show that in equilibrium each university should set admission quotas to equalize the marginal student quality in different provinces. We apply our methodology to the cutoff scores of one hundred top Chinese colleges. We find that different universities tend to rank the student quality in different provinces similarly. There are sizable disparities in average student quality across provinces. In particular, provinces with higher pre-college education spending have significantly higher student quality. Higher ranked universities and those directly under provincial control tend to bias in favor of home students, but the magnitude of the bias is small. Counterfactual experiments show that regional inequalities in admissions is driven largely by the disparities in student quality.
Zhi Wang is an Assistant Professor of the School of Economics in Fudan University. Her research focuses on the applications of microeconomics in the field of Urban Economics. Her papers have been published in Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and Journal of Housing Economics. Zhi Wang received her PhD in Economics from Brown University in 2013. Her homepage is https://zhiwang2013brownecon.weebly.com/
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