Economic inequality and authoritarian legitimacy
This chapter studies how economic inequality in Chinese provinces affects citizens’ trust in the central and provincial governments. The multi-level analysis finds that living in more unequal provinces makes one less trusting of both the central and the provincial governments and that this negative effect holds for both the rich and the poor. The similar effects of inequality on the rich and the poor indicate that Chinese citizens do not consider inequality purely in self-interested terms. The findings also suggest that economic inequality hurts regime legitimacy in China.