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Talent and Meritocracy in China and India


In partnership with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University, the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute’s Talent and Meritocracy in China and India project aims to understand and perhaps reshape how people in China and India think about talent by evaluating the processes of education, talent identification, and talent promotion in China and India. Through this project, we seek to encourage new ways of thinking about where to look for talent and ultimately influence the public policy debate.

Systems of merit in China and India have a long history, and understanding how these systems impact contemporary society is a crucial question. Through this project, we will continue to shed light on the relationship between the idea of merit — its conceptualization, measurement, and implementation — and the organization of talent in China and India, as well as how power and influence are allocated in these two countries.

Our most recent workshop in New Delhi in November 2018 welcomed a host of experts to speak about the true definition of merit, the potential waste of talent in Chinese and Indian educational systems, meritocracy’s relationship with big data, historical systems of discrimination, and the future of merit and affirmative action-related policy in India and China.

Faculty Directors

Tarun Khanna, Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor at Harvard Business School and Director of the Mittal Institute

Michael Szonyi, Frank Wen-hsiung Wu Memorial Professor of Chinese History and Director of the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies