Do Xi's children support the government more than ever?
an age-period-cohort analysis from the Chinese General Social Survey
How public opinion on policies varies in authoritarian regimes has received relatively little scholarly attention. While some find evidence for the relevance of multidimensional ideological spectrum even in authoritarian regimes, investigations regarding temporal changes in public opinion are still rare. Using the Chinese General Social Survey (CGSS) data for 2011-2018, a nationwide sample of individuals (N = 71,323), this article examines how individual preferences on government policies differ across generations in an authoritarian regime. Based on an age-period-cohort approach, the results show that public support for restrictive government policies, such as the limited freedom of expression, one-child, or hukou, gradually decreased when comparing cohorts whose formative years were spent under Mao, Deng, Jiang, and Hu. However, Xi’s Children show support for such policies at comparable levels to Mao’s Children. These findings highlight the importance of understanding long-term dynamics in public opinion, and how the leaders of the day may affect the formation of public preferences.
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