Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Literary Inquisition: The Persecution of Intellectuals and Human Capital Accumulation in China

Koyama, Mark and Xue, Melanie Meng (2015): The Literary Inquisition: The Persecution of Intellectuals and Human Capital Accumulation in China.

[img]
Preview
PDF
MPRA_paper_62103.pdf

Download (685kB) | Preview

Abstract

Imperial China used an empire-wide system of examinations to select civil servants. Using a semiparametric matching-based difference-in-differences estimator, we show that the persecution of scholar-officials led to a decline in the number of examinees at the provincial and prefectural level. To explore the long-run impact of literary inquisitions we employ a model to show that persecutions could reduce the provision of basic education and have a lasting effect on human capital accumulation. Using the 1982 census we find that literary inquisitions reduced literacy by between 2.25 and 4 percentage points at a prefectural level in the early 20th century. This corresponds to a 69% increase in the probability of an individual being illiterate. Prefectures affected by the literary inquisition had a higher proportion of workers in agriculture until the 1990s.

UB_LMU-Logo
MPRA is a RePEc service hosted by
the Munich University Library in Germany.