2018 IPSA 25th World Congress of Political Science on July 21-25, 2018.


The 25th IPSA World Congress of Political Science was held in Brisbane on 21-25 July 2018. Our Asian Barometer Survey team members went to Brisbane for this big event. The 2018 IPSA World Congress Program was divided into serveral sessions. All sessions are held in either of IPSA's official languages: English and French.

The main objectives of this research committee are to plan, conduct and publish international comparative research in political science and political sociology on the basis of comparative public opinion surveys. In RC17 session, the geographical area of ‘Comparative Public Opinion’ is North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Europe.

Our ABS main co-principal investigators, post-doctoral fellows and researchers delivered some important paper in RC 17.02, RC 17.04 and RC 17.06 panel in this bid event.


▼ [Panel Code]RC17.02:Consolidation or Deconsolidation in East Asia

Chair: Prof. Yun-han Chu

Discussants:Dr. Roberto Stefan Foa

                     Prof. Doh Shin

(1) Does Perceived Inequality Erode Democratic Consolidation?  An Individual-level Analysis from the Asian Barometer Survey.

Yu-tzung Chang, Osbern Huang and Stephen Reynolds


These recent crises of deconsolidation in Western countries have led to increased scholarly interest concerning the impact of inequality on democracy. Income inequality in East Asia is worsening, a phenomenon that is particularly felt among young people. Will inequality erode the foundations of East Asia’s democracy? Our results are quite unexpected. This article asks how people assess the performance of the democratic system, asks whether preferences for autocracy is rising, and explores the factors behind support for democracy in East Asia. We found that the higher the perceived levels of inequality, the lower the people’s preference for autocratic governance. This is especially the case for non-democratic countries in Asia, and in countries that have never experienced full liberal democracy. There is a nonlinear relationship between perceived inequality and the preference for nondemocratic regimes, rather it is a slightly U-shaped relationship. These findings also show that perceived inequality does not harm people’s preferences for democracy, rather perceived inequality makes democracy much more attractive, and authoritarian forms of government much less attractive. Therefore, higher inequality perception does not appear to erode/hinder democratic consolidation or democratization in East Asia.

(2) Quality of Governance and Support for Democracy: Evidence from Asian Barometer Survey.

Kuan-chen Lee, Judy Chia-yin Wei and Yun-Han Chu


Recently, survey researchers have documented a growing trend of dissatisfaction with the democratic system among Western countries. In this article, we aim to answer the following questions: Do countries with high level of governance have stronger belief in democracy? What is the consequence of change in governance over time? In a given country will people support democracy if governance improves? Drawing data from four waves of Asian Barometer Survey (ABS), which contains 13 countries and 47 country waves from 2001 to 2016. The results show that quality of governance has no effect, neither cross-sectional nor longitudinal, on individuals’ explicit support for democracy. However, governance, either varying across countries or changing over time, has positive effects on attitudes toward authoritarian rejection. It highlights a point that improving governance within a country overtime is another important factor that drives citizens away from any kind of authoritarianism.

(3) Is Asia Harmonizing with the US on Development? The US Model and Its Competitors.

Hsin-hsin Pan and Chelsea C. Chou


Previous literature arouses debates about whether China’s rise will drive the shift of regime paradigm by crowding out the US influence worldwide, particularly in Asia. In this paper, we argue that a strong power’s leadership carries the “keeping up with the Jones’” effect on how people of the neighboring countries evaluate their political values. In particular, the keeping-up-with-Jones’ effect delineates how a strong power can pose as a role model to its neighboring countries and thus persuade them into first not resisting its way of rule. Based on the 3rd and 4th wave of Asian Barometer Survey covering 13 East Asian countries, we find that East Asians are less resistant against the authoritarian rules as they are more likely to recognize China as the most influential country in Asia and as a role model to their own country. We conclude that China’s rise has driven East Asians to become less resistant against the authoritarian regime, a warning sign of eroding democracy as a regime paradigm in East Asia. The findings carry implications to how the transition of global leadership may inherently revise the prospect of democratic development in the world.


▼ [Panel Code]RC17.04:Democratic Citizenship and Millennials in East Asia

Chair: Dr. Kai-ping Huang

Discussants:Dr. Mark Weatherall

                    Mrs. Marta Lagos

(1) Democratic Legitimacy and Political Activism: An Assessment of Student Movements in East Asian Societies.

Chia-yin Wei

(2) Globalization and Democratic Citizenship of Youth in East Asia.

Feng‐Yu Lee, Wen‐Chin Wu and Chin‐En Wu


Economic and culture integration are two core elements of globalization. We first address the issue of supporting for free‐trade regime among the youth. The adverse impacts of economic globalization, such as high youth unemployment rate in the developed countries, have been extensively discussed. An important feature of East Asia is the heterogeneity of economic development. Some countries are the world’s main manufacturing powerhouse; some countries have been shifting to the service‐based economy; while many others still heavily rely on natural resource. Different economic developments have different employment patterns. We explore, given the economic structure, how young people in this region view the free trade regime. We also investigate whether extensive exposure to foreign information induces young people, especially in the authoritarian countries, to be more politically liberal.

(3) Perception of Family Income Distribution: Contextual and Youth Effects.

Kai-Ping Huang


This paper investigates whether contextual factors and being youth affect perceived inequality. Previous research suggests that perceived inequality is affected by a person’s knowledge, expectation, attention, and financial status. Intuitively, the disadvantaged should be more likely to perceive income distribution unequal than the advantaged, especially when living in a highly unequal environment. Yet, findings from psychology suggest that the disadvantaged might adjust their mindsets under an unequal environment to lessen cognitive dissonance as a way to get by with life. On the other hand, youth under 35 today are facing an environment where contribution and reward are not proportional to the usual referential structure suggests. As a result, they are more likely to perceive income distribution unfair compared to earlier generations. Using survey data covering 14 countries and societies in East Asia, this paper found that the perception gap between the rich and poor is narrower under high and rising inequality, lending support to system justification theory. Youth are also found to be more cynical about family income distribution, indicating possible inter-generational conflict ahead.


▼ [Panel Code]RC17.06:Fairness, Corruption and Social Movement in East Asia

Chair: Prof. Yu-tzung Chang

Discussants:Dr. Jason Kuo

                    Mr. Tun-jen Cheng

                    Prof. Stephan Haggard

(1) Economic Globalization and Democratic Values –Evidence from the Asian Barometer Survey.

Hans H. Tung and Wen‐Chin Wu


While scholars have found that democracies trade more than autocracies, existing studies have not reached a conclusion regarding the question of whether international trade facilitates democracy. In this paper, we argue that exposure to international trade fosters people’s rejection of authoritarian rules. In particular, because international trade involves inter-temporal transactions, citizens need a business environment with higher protection of private property rights. Accordingly, we hypothesize that citizens are less supportive of authoritarian rules when their countries engage more in international market, thereby sowing the seeds of support for democracy. The data of the fourth wave of Asian Barometer Survey offer micro-level empirical support to our argument.

(2) Keeping Government Officials in Check and Perceived Distributive Fairness.

Chin-en Wu and Yun-han Chu


When discussing distributive fairness, scholars focus on procedural fairness and equality of opportunity between different social groups. Few attention is paid to corruption and checking the power of government officials. Governments in many East Asian countries still tightly control the economy. By exploiting the monopoly power, many government officials enjoy the rents and are able to accumulate huge wealth. This phenomenon tends to generate a strong sense of unfairness among people in these societies. When a society is capable of keeping corrupted government officials in check, it reduces the opportunity of such power abuse. Based on this logic, we first examine the relationship between corruption and fairness assessment. Next, we examine how the evaluation about restraining the power of government officials are associated with perceived distributive fairness. We then demonstrate that such effect is more pronounced in hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes. The main reason is that, in those countries, without effective electoral competition and civil liberty, corruption and rent‐seeking behaviors are more likely to go unchecked. Therefore, keeping government officials in check is crucial to enhance social justice. We use the 4th wave Asian Barometer Survey (ABS) data to test the hypotheses in fourteen East Asia countries.

(3) Perceptions of Corruption and Institutional Trust in Asia: Evidence from the Asian Barometer Survey.

Mark Weatherall and Min-hua Huang


Previous studies have found a high correlation between perceptions of corruption and institutional trust. However, perceptions of corruption do not necessarily accurately reflect objective levels of corruption. This gap between subjective perceptions and objective reality is related to contextual factors in each society. At the same time, different contextual factors will have varying impact on the relationship between perceived corruption and institutional trust. This study uses data from the Asian Barometer Survey (ABS) to classify respondents into one of four categories based on their perceptions of corruption and institutional trust: (1) critical (perceive corruption as high, low institutional trust); (2) tolerant (perceive corruption as high; high institutional trust); (3) supportive (perceive corruption as low, high institutional trust), and (4) demanding (perceive corruption as low; low institutional trust). We then carry out six pair comparisons between the two types, identifying contextual, individual-level, and crossover factors that influence which category respondents are classified into.

(4) Does Beijing’s Land Reclamation in the South China Sea Hurt Its Soft Power? A Difference-in-differences Approach.

Jason Kuo and Min-hua Huang


Does Beijing’s land reclamation in the South China Sea hurt its soft power? Exploiting the coincidence that Beijing started land reclamation in South China Sea between the latest two waves of Asian Barometer Surveys, this paper designs a quasi-experiment to causally identify the effect of the land reclamation effort on how East Asians view China’s growing influence on their country. Our difference-in-differences estimates show that the inception of Beijing land reclamation in the South China Sea has substantively made ordinary citizens in the five countries in territorial disputes with China over South China Sea— that is, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Malaysia—less likely to view the influence China has their countries positively than without by 14 percent points. But this is not the case for citizens of the other countries with no political dispute with Beijing over the Chinese nine-dashed lines in the South China Sea. More generally, our results support the idea that an emerging power’s use of hard power can counterproductively undermine its pursuit of soft power for citizens of the targeted countries. This raises a broader question of what constitute a proper foreign policy mix for the peaceful reemergence of an emerging power, including but not limited to China.