Political Science

Jason Luo

2023–24 Dissertation Fellowship

My dissertation project investigates the political economy of information manipulation within autocratic systems by documenting Chinese government procurement activities at all levels in the past two decades and analyzing strategic controls and shapes of information flow across China's bureaucratic levels via a novel regression discontinuity design. With an original dataset of more than 22 million government procurement documents and data on economic growth and government corruption, I identify strategic shaping of fiscal information and further find it leads to higher levels of rent-seeking in procurement, more prosecuted corruption cases in local governments, but also faster economic growth locally, even after controlling for patronage and prior performances. To the best of the author's knowledge, this study not only gives the first systemic evidence of strategic budgeting and information reporting in an authoritarian context, but also estimates the downstream political economy effects when local bureaucrats strategically manipulate off the center's oversight for increased fiscal autonomy. Therefore, the research will stimulate reflections on principal-agent relationships in authoritarian regimes and shed new lights on our knowledge of bureaucratic information manipulation and its downstream effects on government corruption, economic development, and beyond.

A Text Auto-Generator for Randomizing Latent Treatments
2020 CSS Fellowship