Much research on contentious politics focuses on the origins and dynamics of contention or the impact of contention on policy change. Although some studies have delved into the state reactions to contention, relatively little is known about the outcome or effectiveness of state responses, especially in non-democratic settings. This paper attempts to fill this gap and to uncover the policy feedback effect in non-democratic settings by studying the Chinese state’s repression of violent incidents targeted at healthcare personnel and facilities (yinao). I argue that without comprehensive healthcare reforms to tackle the root causes of yinao, state repression of yinao generates unintended adverse outcomes, causing the doctor–patient relationship to deteriorate. Using the difference-in-differences method with China Family Panel Studies data for 2014 and 2016, I find that the criminalization of yinao diminishes public trust in doctors and confidence in hospitals’ competence and instead increases public concerns about the healthcare system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations
- Policy feedback
- State repression