New paper on the organizational demography of Qing officialdom in 社會科學研究

A paper by Cameron Campbell and Shuaiqi GAO on the organizational demography of Qing officialdom has been published in 社會科學研究. You can read it in its entirety in a post at the journal’s official account. You can download the PDF at the entry for the paper at the journal’s website. The English version is available at Soc ArXiv.


中国历史官员量化数据库——(清)缙绅录(CGED?Q JSL)中文官的纵向关联记录揭示了19世纪清代文官整体的职业动态。定量分析的结果表明,清代官僚系统的总体情况就像一个当代的大型组织,文官离职率在任职的第一年内很高,然后下降,之后趋于稳定。19世纪下半叶,官员的离职率整体下降,但于清末十年中上升。官员离职率下降导致拥有功名的候缺待补官员群体谋求仕途和进一步晋升的机会不断减少。同时,异途官员的人数不断增加,加剧了官场竞争。不同类别、品级官员的职业动态在不同历史时期的变化趋势差异较大,尤其是高品级官员的离职率对清代后期的官场平衡具有深刻影响。清代文官的职业动态一方面揭示了清代文官组织人口学的基本特征,另一方面也为解释清代特定官员群体或特定时期的官员个案研究提供了重要参考。

We study the organizational demography of the Qing civil service from 1830 to 1911. Before the 20th century, the Qing bureaucracy was one of the largest non-military organizations in the world in terms of numbers of regular employees. At any given time, approximately 13,000 officials held formal appointments. We present the basic features of its organizational demography using data on nearly all civil officials with formal appointments from 1830 to 1912. We make use of longitudinally linked records of officials in the China Government Employee Database – Jinshenlu (CGED-Q JSL) to reconstruct rates of exit from service, the career lengths of officials, and the number of years since first appointment for currently serving officials. While previous studies of the Qing have examined turnover in specific types of posts, they have not considered the dynamics of complete careers. We find that exit rates in the first year of service were high and then low and stable afterward. While most officials only served for a short time, currently serving officials were relatively experienced. We also show that rates of exit from service declined for much of the last half of the 19th century, and then increased in the first decade of the 20th century. Declining turnover in the last half of the 19th century would have reduced opportunities for degree holders seeking posts and for officials seeking promotion at a time when the number of holders of purchased degrees competing for posts was increasing. We also compare different categories of officials. The results not only illuminate basic features of the organizational demography of Qing officialdom, but also provide a baseline for interpreting results from case studies of specific groups of officials or specific time periods.

Here is the full reference:

康文林 (Cameron Campbell) and 高帅奇(Gao Shuaiqi). 2024. 清代文官的组织人口学研究, 1830-1911 (The Organizational Demography of the Qing Civil Service, 1830-1911). 社会科学研究 (Social Science Research). 1:157-169.