China's civil examination system (keju), an incredibly long-lived institution, has a persistent impact on human capital outcomes today. Using the variation in the density of jinshi-the highest qualification-across 278 Chinese prefectures in the Ming-Qing period (c. 1368-1905) to proxy for this effect, we find that a doubling of jinshi per 10,000 population leads to an 8.5% increase in years of schooling in 2010. The persistent effect of keju can be attributed to a multitude of channels including cultural transmission, educational infrastructure, social capital and, to a lesser extent, political elites.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Economics and Econometrics