Pour (Tear) Gas on Fire? Violent Confrontations and Anti-Government Backlash in Hong Kong

24 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2020

See all articles by Tak Huen Chau

Tak Huen Chau

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Government & Public Administration

Kin-Man Wan

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

Date Written: March 23, 2020

Abstract

How do voters in a developed economy react to political violence at the ballot box? Most of the current literature suggests that violent clashes dampen public support of the movement. Using novel geocoded data and an instrumental variables approach, we examine whether violent confrontations, proxied by the frequency of police shooting tear gas rounds at protesters, affected Hong Kong’s 2019 municipal election. Contrary to expectations of delegitimation, we find that violent confrontations decreases support for the regime. We estimate the presence of such conflicts increases the constituency-level antigovernment vote share by up to 6%, and we offer evidence that they de-mobilize proregime voters. We discuss two possible explanations behind our findings and the implications for understanding the role of violence in protest movements.

Keywords: conflict, Hong Kong, policing, political resistance, political violence

Suggested Citation

Chau, Tak Huen and Wan, Kin-Man, Pour (Tear) Gas on Fire? Violent Confrontations and Anti-Government Backlash in Hong Kong (March 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3557130 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3557130

Tak Huen Chau (Contact Author)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Government & Public Administration ( email )

Third Floor, T. C. Cheng Building
United College
Shatin
Hong Kong

Kin-Man Wan

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

Hong Kong

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