In 2020, China's government implemented a new research evaluation policy that requires Chinese scholars to both publish at least one third of their works in Chinese journals and continue engaging with the international research community. This policy may challenge how universities have evaluated the respective worth of faculty who have gained their qualifications in China and abroad. To theorize on and assist practitioners in confronting this possibility, we compare the contributions made to China's journals by academic economists with foreign qualifications (Returnees) and by their peers with Chinese degrees (Domestics) across a fifteen-year period. We find that Returnees publish higher quality papers than Domestics, that the concentration of Returnees in academic departments impacts the research quality of both Domestic and Returnee faculty, and that the spillover effect is pronounced where intradepartmental collaboration is encouraged. On this basis, we advise that university administrators charged with determining their institution's talent management policy should continue to prioritize the appointment of Returnees and actively strive to promote research collaboration within departments.
- Spillover effect