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Andrei A. Yakovlev (National Research University Higher School of Economics): Career Trajectories of Regional Officials: Russia and China before and after 2012

Co-authors: Thomas F. Remington (Emory University, National Research University Higher School of Economics and Harvard University), Elena Ovchinnikova and Alexander Chasovsky (both National Research University Higher School of Economics)

Authoritarian leaders rely on regional officials for both political support and the fulfillment of their policy objectives. Central leaders face trade-offs between using institutionalized rules for choosing regional officials such as regular rotation and performance incentives, and building a stable base of personal support from loyalists. This paper analyzes appointments of regional officials in Russia and China before and after 2012. We hypothesize that, as a consequence of the centralization and personalization of state power in both regimes over the past decade, Russia’s system for appointing regional officials has become somewhat more regularized while in China under Xi it has become somewhat less regularized. Our analysis uses a comprehensive original set of biographical data on all top regional officials from 2002 through 2018 in China and from 2000 through 2018 in Russia. We discern clear differences between the pre- and post-2012 period for China and less marked differences for pre- and post-2012 Russia.


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