China's Ideological Spectrum
Forthcoming, The Journal of Politics
56 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2015 Last revised: 9 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 7, 2017
The study of ideology in authoritarian regimes --- of how public preferences are configured and constrained --- has received relatively little scholarly attention. Using data from a large-scale online survey, we study ideology in China. We find that public preferences are weakly constrained, and the configuration of preferences is multi-dimensional, but the latent traits of these dimensions are highly correlated. Those who prefer authoritarian rule are more likely to support nationalism, state intervention in the economy, and traditional social values; those who prefer democratic institutions and values are less likely to be nationalistic or support traditional social values but more likely to support market reforms. This latter set of preferences appears more in provinces with higher levels of development and among wealthier and better educated respondents. These findings suggest preferences are not simply split along a pro-regime or anti-regime cleavage, and indicate a possible link between China's economic reform and societal cleavages.
Keywords: ideology, authoritarianism, political cleavage, China, factor analysis
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