Ethnic Discrimination in Criminal Sentencing in China with Professor Yue Hou



Professor Yue Hou

Date and Time

October 19, 2021 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM


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Zoom Meeting
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Tuesday, October 19, 2021 | 11:00am-12:15pm Pacific Time

Ethnic Discrimination in Criminal Sentencing in China (Joint work with Rory Truex)

We present the first analysis of ethnic discrimination in sentencing patterns in China, focusing on drug cases in Yunnan province. We posit the "problem minority" hypothesis, which holds that discrimination in an authoritarian system emerges when an ethnic group becomes. associated with behavior that generates social instability. On average, minority defendants in Yunnan receive sentences that are about 2.1 to 7.5 months longer than Han defendants that have committed similar drug crimes. Further analysis of data from all provinces reveals that this bias is largest for groups heavily involved in the drug trade, and in provinces with significant minority populations and drugs.

About the Speaker

Headshot of Dr. Yue Hou
Yue Hou
Yue Hou is the Janice and Julian Bers Assistant Professor in the Social Sciences in the department of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research centers on the political economy of non-democracies, with a regional focus on China.  She is interested in how individual actors (e.g., citizens, firms) interact with the state and state agents that are not held accountable by elections, and how these interactions affect outcomes such as economic growth, government service, quality of institutions, and policy changes. Her book The Private Sector in Public Office: Selective Property Rights in China (October 2019, Cambridge University Press) examines strategies Chinese private entrepreneurs use to protect property from expropriation. Hou is a faculty affiliate of Penn's Center for the Study of Contemporary China (CSCC), Penn Identity and Conflict Lab (PIC Lab), and Penn Development Research Initiative (PDRI).

Seminar Series Moderators:

Headshot of Dr. Scott Rozelle

Scott Rozelle is the Helen F. Farnsworth Senior Fellow and Co-Director of Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research at Stanford University. For the past 30 years, he has worked on the economics of poverty reduction. Currently, his work on poverty has its full focus on human capital, including issues of rural health, nutrition and education. For the past 20 year, Rozelle has been the chair of the International Advisory Board of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In recent years Rozelle spends most of his time co-directing the Rural Education Action Project (REAP). In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Rozelle has received numerous honors and awards, including the Friendship Award in 2008, the highest award given to a non-Chinese by the Premier; and the National Science and Technology Collaboration Award in 2009 for scientific achievement in collaborative research.

hongbin li headshotHongbin Li is the James Liang Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Stanford Center on China's Economy and Institutions in Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. Hongbin obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2001 and joined the economics department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), where he became full professor in 2007. He was also one of the two founding directors of the Institute of Economics and Finance at the CUHK. He taught at Tsinghua University in Beijing 2007-2016 and was C.V. Starr Chair Professor of Economics in the School of Economics and Management. He also founded and served as the Executive Associate Director of the China Social and Economic Data Center at Tsinghua University. He founded the Chinese College Student Survey (CCSS) in 2009 and the China Employer-Employee Survey (CEES) in 2014.

Hongbin’s research has been focused on the transition and development of the Chinese economy, and the evidence-based research results have been both widely covered by media outlets and well read by policy makers around the world . He is currently the co-editor of the Journal of Comparative Economics.


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