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V-Dem Seminar with Marcus Tannenberg

Research profile seminar

Marcus Tannenberg 50 % seminar. Title: Popular Support for Authoritarian Rule in China: Estimating self-censorship with list experiments Discussant: Nicholas Kerr.

Abstract: The study of popular support for authoritarian regimes, and the comparative study of political attitudes, has long relied on the assumption that survey respondents provide truthful answers on surveys. However, when measuring regime support in closed political systems, there is a distinct risk that individuals are less than forthright due to fear that their opinions may be made known to the public or the authorities. In order to test this assumption, we conducted a novel web-based survey in China in which we included four list experiments of commonly used items in the comparative literature on regime support. We find systematic bias for all four measures as a result of self-censorship; substantially more individuals state that they support the regime with direct questioning than do when presented with our anonymous, indirect list experiments. Self-censorship is further most prevalent among the wealthy, the educated, urban, and female respondents. These findings indicate that prior studies that have found high levels of support for the Chinese regime using these particular measures likely overestimate the true level of support. Further, cross-national studies which compare popular support across regime type may be systematically biased if responses are not subject to the same level of falsification across regime types.

Bio: Marcus Tannenberg is a PhD candidate at the V-Dem Institute at the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg since the fall of 2015. His primary research interest is legitimacy and popular support in autocratic regimes, and survey methodology in politically repressive settings.

Date: 3/15/2018

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Categories: Social Sciences

Organizer: Department of Political Science/V-Dem

Location: B336, Stora Skansen

Contact person: Natalia Stepanova

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