China Colloquium

"Mind the Gap: Disparity in Redistributive Preference between Political Elites and the Public in China," Weihua An, Sociology and Quantitative Theory and Methods, Emory University

Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm, April 20

Location: Modern Languages 201

Free and Open to the public

In this paper, we emphasize the importance of studying the gap in redistributive preference between political elites and the public because of the strategic roles played by the former in policy processes. We use China as a case study to illustrate the point, wherein the fulfillment of surging demands for redistribution is largely dependent on whether or not the political elites will advocate for redistribution. Using data from the Chinese General Social Survey, we find that the political elites prefer significantly less progressive taxation and less redistributive expenditure than the public. The gap in redistributive preference is larger on the expenditure side than on the taxation side. Moreover, the causes of the gap appear to vary by the measures for redistribution. Accounting for covariate differences fully explains the gap in preference for progressive taxation, but not the gap in preference for redistributive expenditure.

About the speaker

Dr. Weihua An is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Quantitative Theory and Methods at Emory University. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and a Master's degree in Statistics from Harvard University. His research intersects network analysis, causal inference, and several applied areas including health and social policy, organizations, and development. His work has been published in Social Forces, Social Science Research, Sociological Methodology, Sociological Methods and Research, American Statistician, Journal of Statistical Software, etc.