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Financial Expertise, Examinations, and the Formulation of Economic Policy in Northern Sung China

Robert M. Hartwell
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 30, No. 2 (Feb., 1971), pp. 281-314
DOI: 10.2307/2942916
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2942916
Page Count: 34
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Financial Expertise, Examinations, and the Formulation of Economic Policy in Northern Sung China
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Abstract

This paper is primarily concerned with the institutional framework of economic policy formulation in China during the Northern Sung dynasty (960-1126). During this period there evolved a professional financial service whose members had a direct influence on economic legislation either as incumbents in fiscal offices or as members of Imperial advisory organs. The financial specialist was seen as possessing a specific body of expertise--administrative ability, talent in mathematics, a knowledge of classical Chinese monetary theory and familiarity with the history of economic policy. These attributes were tested in the civil service recruitment examinations and used as criteria for the recommendation and assignment of men to fiscal posts. The resulting consistency and predictability in legislation was a significant aspect of material progress in eleventh century China. The article is based on an extensive analysis of biographical information contained in chronicles, dynastic histories, records of conduct, and funerary inscriptions, as well as extant copies of examination questions and answers and edicts of appointment contained in the collected papers of Northern Sung writers.

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