New paper by Cameron Campbell on exam degree holders at the end of the Qing

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-1-739x1024.pngCameron Campbell recently published a paper titled 清末科举停废对士人文官群体的影响——基于微观大数据的宏观新视角 in 社会科学辑刊 on the appointment and subsequent careers of exam degree holders and the overall composition of officialdom between 1900 and 1912, that is at the end of the Qing, and before and after the abolition of the examination system in 1905.

By analysis of quarterly CGED-Q data on civil officials between 1900 and 1912 linked to rosters This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-2-733x1024.pngof jinshi 进士 and juren 举人 degree recipients for specific exam years, the paper shows that annual chances of appointment of men who already held degrees actually increased after 1905, presumably because they were no longer competing with newly-minted exam degree holders. The number of serving officials who held exam degrees remained stable after the abolition of the exams and their turnover rates remained unchained. The share of central government officials who were exam degree holders declined mainly because there was an expansion in the total number of officials, driven by officials who held other kinds of degrees. Increases in the numbers and share of officials who held purchased degrees were especially notable.

The main takeaway is that the abolition of the examination system had little apparent effect on those who already had degrees. They continued to be appointed at roughly the same rate, and those who had appointments had roughly the same level of turnover as before.

Campbell wrote the first draft of the paper in Chinese in summer 2018. Yuying Shen, Ting Wang and especially Bijia Chen then edited the text substantially.

Here’s the Chinese abstract:

围绕清末科举停废及新政时期官员任命和晋升政策调整这一历史背景,采用新的微观大数据的分析方法,力图为观察清末新政前后清政府文官系统的变化提供新的视角。对1900年以来十余年间清代文官数据的分析,呈现出新政前后文官在人数、组成比例等方面的动态趋势。首先,根据官员出身,分析进士、举人及贡生等群体在整体文官系统中的比例及随时间变化的趋势。新政时期进士出身的官员群体未见受政策调整的影响,京师与地方进士官员的人数、官职分布均相对稳定,不同科年进士的任职机会大体相近。其次,虽然举人与贡生在地方官员中所占人数未变,且不同科年举人的就职机会亦未出现明显变化,但其在京师却显示巨大的变化。随着1907年后京师官员人数的增长,京师举人与贡生官员人数有相当明显的增长,且官职分布也有变化,如小京官所占比例有显著增加。最后,监生与捐纳贡生呈现出与进士和举人不同的另一种模式。1907年后监生与捐纳贡生人数增长了,但是分布的变化与举人和贡生的变化不同。

Rough English translation:

With the abolition of the examination system and the reform of appointment and promotion of officials during the New Government period as a backdrop, this paper offers a new perspective on the changes in Qing government officialdom before and after the New Government period. Analysis of data on officials in the 12 years after 1900 reveals trends and patterns in the number, composition, and other characteristics of officials. First, according to an analysis of the qualifications of officials, it analyzes time trends in the shares of officials who were jinshi, juren, gongsheng or other degree holders. During the New Government period, jinshi officials were not affected by the adjustment of policies: the numbers of officials with jinshi degrees was remained stable, as did the distribution of positions they held, and the chances of appointment for jinshi from different sittings of the exam were stable. Second, even though the share of local officials who were juren and gongsheng did not change, and there was little change in the chances of appointment for holders of juren degrees, there was a large change in the capital. After the numbers of officials serving in the capital began to increase in 1907, there was an increase in the numbers of juren and gongsheng serving there, and there was a change in the types of positions they held, so that for example there was an increase in the share of of ‘minor capital officials’. Finally, jiansheng and purchased gongsheng had very different trends from jinshi and juren. The numbers of jiansheng and gongsheng increased after 1907, but changes in their distribution were different.

Reference:

康文林 (Cameron Campbell). 2020. 清末科举停废对士人文官群体的影响——基于微观大数据的宏观新视角 (The Influence of the Abolition of the Examinations at the End of the Qing on the Holders of Exam Degrees).社会科学辑刊 (Social Science Journal) 2020:4(249):156–166. LINK