How does social policy affect authoritarian values? Leveraging exogenous variation, I evaluate how higher education expansion as a social policy program in China has influenced authoritarian support and traditional gender attitudes. I use an instrumental variable approach and regression analyses with marginal effects to assess multiple waves of Chinese national representative surveys coupled with regional statistics. The study differentiates between two types of authoritarian support: specific support (authoritarian support based on evaluation of recent policies) and diffuse support (long‐term authoritarian traits independent of recent policies). I find that education expansion has significantly decreased specific authoritarian support; however, it has not influenced diffuse authoritarian support. Moreover, a decrease in traditional gender attitudes is driven by a cohort effect rather than an education expansion effect. The findings have broader implications for understanding the effects of social policy on attitudinal change in an authoritarian context.
|Journal||Governance: An international journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions|
|Number of pages||21|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2022|