The Role of Retributive Justice in Citizen Evaluations of Government: The Case of China

64 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2017 Last revised: 30 Nov 2018

See all articles by Lily Tsai

Lily Tsai

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Minh Trinh

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Shiyao Liu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: May 16, 2018

Abstract

When citizens look at the actions and policies of authoritarian leaders, what criteria do they use to form their preferences about these leaders? Using three separate conjoint experiments in China, we fin that citizens prefer government leaders who address citizen concerns about retributive justice by punishing corruption and malfeasance within the government. We find that concerns about retributive justice have as much or more influence than concerns about procedural justice and distributive justice. In two of these experiments, we develop an innovative "serial split samples" approach to mediation analysis with multiple mediators to provide additional evidence for our retributive justice argument. We find, consistent with this argument, that government leaders who punish lower levels for corruption affect citizen preferences by increasing citizen evaluations of
their moral character as well as their competence.

Keywords: China, retributive, justice, citizen, government

Suggested Citation

Tsai, Lily and Trinh, Minh and Liu, Shiyao, The Role of Retributive Justice in Citizen Evaluations of Government: The Case of China (May 16, 2018). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2017-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3038955 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3038955

Lily Tsai

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Minh Trinh (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Shiyao Liu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

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