Leo Y. Yang is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He is currently the Computational Social Science Fellow of the UC Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC) and the student researcher of the China Data Lab of the 21st Century China Center (21CCC). His research interests include computational social science, text as data, and development economics. His research focuses on how media (like newspapers and Weibo) influences social and political issues. He is trained as a data scientist who is capable of collecting, cleaning, and using big data to analyze the social phenomenon.
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M.Phil in Social Science, 2016
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Master in Finance, 2014
BSc in Internationcal Business and Trade, 2010
Xiamen University, Tan Kah Kee College
Employing news reports that appeared in Chinese national and local newspapers (2000 - 2014) coupled with data on the networks of elites, we find that local bureaucrats connected to strong national leaders tend to criticize members of weaker factions in politically damaging news reports. These adverse reports indeed harm the promotion prospects of the province leaders reported on in the articles, weakening the already weak factions and expanding the relative power of the strong factions.
Using a panel on the political turnovers of 1,201 prefecture leaders in China during 2002-2012, I find that, of all 1,816 serious coal mine accidents, even controlling for the number of deaths they caused, only those with exceptionally higher media coverage have the effect of significantly reducing the prospects of local leaders' promotion.
Analyzing a large corpus of central and local policy documents published by the Chinese government between 2006 and 2017, we identify a typology of three main patterns, top-down (central policy signal predates local diffusion), bottom-up (local diffusion predates central signal and is unperturbed by later central signals), and hybrid (limited local diffusion is significantly augmented by central signal). We find that truly bottom-up diffusion is quite rare in Hu’s or Xi’s administration. Under Xi, however, top-down surpassed hybrid as the dominant mode of diffusion.