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
Date Written: May 16, 2018
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
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