Bread or Roses: How Economic Inequality Affects Regime Support in China?

Xian Huang, Cai Zuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Much comparative politics scholarship has examined whether economic inequality affects democratic values or political support in democracies. Nevertheless, they lack a close examination of the political effects of economic inequality and, more importantly, how economic inequality shapes political support in non-democracies. We provide an empirical test of the effect of economic inequality on regime support using the China data from the Asian Barometer Survey between 2002 and 2015. We argue and demonstrate that perceived economic inequality significantly reduces regime support in China. Moreover, using a causal mediation analysis, we find that the detrimental effect of perceived economic inequality on regime support is not driven by demands for redistribution, but rather by the political value orientation. These findings advance our understanding of the connection between economic inequality and political values and the economic base of political legitimacy in non-democracies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)869-892
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Asian Barometer Survey
  • China
  • authoritarian values
  • economic inequality
  • redistribution
  • regime support


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