Performance Legitimacy and COVID-19: What are Citizens’ Expectations for Crisis Management in an Authoritarian State?
18 Pages Posted: 31 May 2020
Date Written: 2020
Chinese citizens are increasingly concluding that the state alone cannot manage national disasters and emergencies. Leveraging two waves of a nation-wide survey of urban residents, conducted in 2018 and 2020, we find statistical support amongst Chinese citizens for civil society organizations to become more involved in a national crisis such as during COVID-19. The theoretical and practical implications for authoritarian regimes are discussed. Primarily, we suggest that while authoritarian regimes can use crises to gain and retain performance legitimacy, their normal methods of controlling information can thwart these gains. Civil society organizations can assist with this dilemma.
Keywords: authoritarian resilience, state performance legitimacy, civil society organizations, national disaster and emergency, COVID-19, China
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