The Heterogeneous Effects of Intracommunal and Extracommunal Violence: Evidence from China

36 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2022 Last revised: 9 May 2022

See all articles by Wenyan Deng

Wenyan Deng

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

Date Written: May 2, 2022

Abstract

Scholarship on the long-term effects of state repression predominantly focuses on trust toward the government and pays little attention to interpersonal trust. This work has also privileged only one type of state repression — extracommunal violence in which outside actors targets a community. This paper differentiates between the effects of intracommunal and extracommunal violence, showing that they have distinct consequences on interpersonal trust. While intracommunal violence decreases trust in colleagues, neighbors, and friends, extracommunal violence increases it. I support this argument using subnational data on violence during China’s Cultural Revolution. I find that in localities with high levels of intracommunal violence resulting from government campaigns requiring citizens to report “enemies of the state” within their communities, interpersonal trust declined. However, in localities with extracommunal violence in the form of military-civilian confrontation, interpersonal trust increased. This work reconciles contradictory existing findings by examining qualitatively different types of violence in state repression.

Keywords: state repression, social capital, violence, community, persistence, China, Cultural Revolution

Suggested Citation

Deng, Wenyan, The Heterogeneous Effects of Intracommunal and Extracommunal Violence: Evidence from China (May 2, 2022). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2022-5, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4083289 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4083289

Wenyan Deng (Contact Author)

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

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

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