There are a large body of studies concerning the major promotion in China. Some argued that the city economic performance is the most significant factor which strongly affect the major promotion, others hold the view that city environment performance is an another important factor. All the research controlled for the personal factors of majors, such as education level, age, gender, tenure etc. However, does these two factors make sense in China? One point could not be ignored is the social capital, which means the relationships between the major and other stakeholders sometimes dominate in the promotion process. Actually, promotion or not is not only decided by your performance, the political resource does also matter. Like in the recent TV drama "The Name of the People", Yuliang Gao, Tongwei Qi, Xiaoqin Gao, and some other guys, they are related by many embedded relationships, such as graduating from some university, lovers and so on. That leads them to become a small group. Qi was promoted by the intervene of Gao. To do so, how to measure social capital in the empirical study?
Today, I listened to a study presentation given by two Ph.D students major in public administration. They tried to figure out the relationship between inter-local collaboration and major promotion. The result showed that much more collaboration activities for a city will lead the major to be promoted faster. They measured the collaboration as a major independent variable by calculating the numbers of formal and informal agreements signed by a city, and used whether a major was be promoted or not as the dependent variable. The unit of analysis is the major. The data is collected from 2009 to 2015.
However, I have some questions regarding to this study. The first one is about the data set. The observation sample is majors. The data seems not like a cross section data which is not collected at the some time point. If it is a survival analysis, the how would you select these majors in that time rather than other. The second question is the collaboration agreements are limited in the environment areas, how does it represent the whole collaboration activities to a city. There is a mistake that the authors used the partial effect to predict the whole. And the last question is the dependent variable laid out in the major level, but the independent variables mostly focus on the city level. Is it possible to use OLS to estimate the effect?
Anyway, this is a good idea indeed. But there are a lot of problems need to be resolved, not only the theoretical but also the technical. Hope I will see this article published in one academic journal in the future.