Northwestern Events Calendar


Comparative Politics Workshop Presents Yuhua Wang

When: Friday, May 31, 2019
12:00 PM - 2:00 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, 201, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: John Mocek   (847) 491-5364

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Keep It in the Family: Elite Marriage Network and State-Making in Imperial China

Yuhua Wang

Asst. Professor, Dept. of Government

Harvard University


Why do some politicians support state centralization while others oppose it? Existing theories focus on macro-level factors, such as war. But holding macro-level variables constant, some elites might have a stronger incentive to centralize the state than others. I develop a framework where state centralization requires elite collective action and derive that the geography of elite marriage network is correlated with their support for state centralization. Elites who have a geographically dispersed marriage network can benefit from scale economies and are more likely to support strengthening the central state; elites who have a geographically concentrated marriage network tend to free ride and prefer state fragmentation. I empirically evaluate the framework using an original dataset of elite marriage network compiled from tomb epitaphs in China’s Northern Song Dynasty. My results suggest that elite social relations affect state development.

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