The Housing Boom and the Rise of Localism in Hong Kong: Evidence from the Legislative Council Election in 2016

10 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2019

See all articles by Kin-Man Wan

Kin-Man Wan

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Faculty of Social Science, Department of Government & Public Administration, Students

Stan Hok-wui Wong

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Date Written: October 18, 2019

Abstract

Localist parties have become an emerging force in Hong Kong’s political landscape. What has caused the rise of localism in the city? Extant studies focus on cultural and social factors. In this article, we propose a political economy explanation: global and regional economic factors have caused a housing boom in Hong Kong since the mid-2000s and produced impactful redistributive consequences. While homeowners benefit tremendously from the hike in asset prices, non-homeowners stand to lose. Their divergent economic interests then translate into political preferences; homeowners support political parties that favour the status quo, while non-homeowners tend to support those that challenge it. Using a newly available public opinion survey, we find preliminary evidence in support of our argument. In particular, homeowners are less likely to identify with localist parties and tend to vote for pro-establishment ones. High-income earners, however, are more likely to vote for localist parties.

Keywords: localism, wealth inequality, home ownership, Hong Kong elections, political identification, vote choice

Suggested Citation

Wan, Kin-Man and Wong, Stan Hok-wui, The Housing Boom and the Rise of Localism in Hong Kong: Evidence from the Legislative Council Election in 2016 (October 18, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3472067 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3472067

Kin-Man Wan (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Faculty of Social Science, Department of Government & Public Administration, Students ( email )

Hong Kong

Stan Hok-wui Wong

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University ( email )

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