Dr. Heiner Mikosch - Seminar Presentation

Prof. PInghan Liang


Date and Time: November 8th, 2019, 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Room: A 101 in the Economics Building (Museum)


This paper focuses on the role of local politicians’ early-life experiences in their policy decisions while in office. We take China’s Great Famine (1959–61) as a natural experiment and examine its impact on the fiscal decisions of County Party Secretaries (CPS) who experienced this famine in their early childhood. We construct a data set that matches the biographical information of 2,831 CPS with fiscal data of 1,715 counties during 1993–2007. The results indicate that if CPS experienced a 10% more severe famine during early childhood, other things being equal, they will increase fiscal expenditure on agriculture by 6.8% and social security by 10.6%. This famine experience also decreases agricultural tax by 38.8%. As a result, it leads to more grain production and agricultural employment. We further show that famine experience takes effect by forming the policy preference for agricultural development, rather than beliefs about future famine.

About the Speaker

Pinghan Liang is Professor of the School of Government at Sun Yat-sen University. He received his PHD from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. He published in many well-known journals among them Games and Economic Behavior, China Economic Review and Journal of Comparative Economics