This study develops and empirically tests the hypothesis that greater exposure to pre-college education produces more “malleable” factory workers in China’s manufacturing sector. The working notion of malleability is defined as comparatively weaker tendencies to use “exit”, “voice” and shirking strategies in the workplace. Ethnographic research and preliminary survey data analysis reveals a possible link between such tendencies and the length of schooling under China’s secondary education system. Further analysis of survey data will investigate the hypothesized causal relationship, with hometown availability of senior high vocational school as IV. Field experiments will be piloted to ascertain the causal channel by examining subjects’ schooling, workplace conduct, and behavioral traits including obedience to authority, rule compliance, boredom tolerance, concentration, and self-discipline. Results will shed new light on China’s robust manufacturing boom, FDI, and the role of schooling in emerging economies. They will also lay the ground for a more comprehensive GRF project.
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