Cadre parents and their entrepreneur children?The dual-track intergenerational reproduction of elites in China:1978–2010

Peng Lu, Xiaoguang Fan

Abstract :This article documents and conceptualizes a mode of reproduction of elites in a society in transition from state domination to market orientation. By focusing on China’ marketization, we explore how parents’ advantageous backgrounds have influenced the chance of their children’s attainment of certain elite positions (administrative, technocratic, or market) and whether these patterns have varied across three periods (1978–1992, 1993–2002, and 2003–2010). Using data obtained from the 2011 China Social Survey, we find that although parents’ advantageous status has a persistent effect on children’s status attainment, the reproduction of the state elite and market elite still follows two separate tracks: the children of cadres do not show significant advantage in the process of becoming entrepreneurs and managerial elites, and the children of entrepreneurial and managerial elites are less likely to join cadres. We also find that the effects of the reproduction model are still enhanced and shaped by state power in different periods. These findings demonstrate the important interplay between family background and contextual inequality and give a deeper understanding of the different trajectories of elites in contemporary China. 

Keywords: Intergenerational mobility, Status attainment, Elite, China

Lu, P., and Fan, X., 2021, “Cadre parents and their entrepreneur children? The dual-track intergenerational reproduction of elites in China: 1978–2010”, The Journal of Chinese Sociology, Vol 8, No. 17, pp. 1-19.

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