BUS News

HKBU economist wins Best Paper Award from the Royal Economic Society

26 Apr, 2021
img Dr. Chen Ting, Assistant Professor of the Department of Economics, has won the Royal Economic Society (RES) Prize for the best paper published in the Economic Journal in 2020. The research paper “Long Live Keju! The Persistent Effects of China’s Civil Examination System” examines the persistent impact of China’s civil examination system (keju) on today’s human capital outcomes.

The results show that educational infrastructure, social capital, and to a lesser extent political elites all facilitated the impact of China's civil exam institution on the cultural trait of valuing education. They also look beyond the impact of keju on educational attainment and provide evidence suggesting that perhaps because a stronger local keju culture induces greater competition, it has the effect of mitigating educational and income inequalities across generations.

The prize was awarded based on the paper’s important contribution to the understanding of why education, rather than material wealth, is considered important as a transfer to the next generation in some cultures. It also provides a fascinating explanation for regional differences in educational attainment, and serves as an excellent example of how newly collected data can speak to big picture issues in economics in a simple, yet powerful way.

Dr. Chen’s research interests lie in the fields of political economy, economic history, and long-term economic development. She has published papers in such journals as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Econometrics and Economic Journal. Dr. Chen is best known for her ability to combine cutting-edge data analytics with innovative econometric identification strategies to tackle very interesting issues. For example, in the current paper Dr. Chen had to process a huge number of historical Chinese archived data by hand and include a wide range of variables that might have a confounding effect on the years of schooling today.

The RES is a learned society and membership organisation founded in 1890 to promote economics. It publishes two major journals, the Economic Journal and the Econometrics Journal.