Justin J. Hong
Hello! I am a Ph.D. candidate (4th year) in Economics at Boston University.
Fields of Interest: Development Economics, Political Economy, Public Economics
Superstitions, Risk-Taking and Public Leadership: Evidence from Chinese Villages [Submitted]
This paper studies the impact of risk-taking on bureaucratic performance, by exploiting Chinese "zodiac year" superstitions that generate within-individual variation in risk appetite. Employing a representative village panel (2013-2018), I find that lower risk-taking of village heads leads to increased collective decision-making and perceived responsiveness by villagers; I also observe consistent expenditure changes, with higher public good spending and a comparable decline in administration spending. However, zodiac leaders are also less likely to promote policy innovation. Collectively, risk avoidance can shift leader focus toward addressing constituent interests when incentives for responsiveness may be limited, with a potential trade-off between accountability and public entrepreneurship.
Corruption and Human Capital Supply for the State