chapter  5
20 Pages

Equality of opportunity and satisfaction with the political system

The mediating role of regime type
WithYun-han Chu, Chin-en Wu

This chapter demonstrates that the effect of perceived inequality of opportunity, corruption, and fairness of income distribution on satisfaction with democracy is greater in hybrid and authoritarian regimes than in democracies. In democracies, disaffected people can criticise government policies, stage demonstrations, and vote for opposition parties. These mechanisms increase the chances of existing policies being adjusted and government officials being held accountable, thus ameliorating people’s discontent. These mechanisms are absent in authoritarian regimes or deficient in electoral authoritarian regimes, so people are more likely to blame the political system that restricts opportunities to voice discontent. Because of this, disaffected people are more likely to demand changes in the existing political system. Data from the Fourth Wave Asian Barometer Survey (ABS IV) is used to test the hypotheses in 14 East Asian countries.