Deservingness and domestic welfare chauvinism: evidence from a Chinese province

Stream: Chinese social policy: states and markets
Date: Monday, 9 September 2019
Time: 1.30 pm – 3.10 pm


What explains divergent levels of support for social policy spending? While ample research has examined this question in developed countries, we know relatively little about citizens’ views of social welfare in China. In contrast to other post-socialist societies, Chinese citizens have relatively low expectations for state provision of social welfare.

Using an original survey of urban residents in three Chinese provinces conducted in 2017, this paper tests hypotheses derived from research on social policy in developed countries, focusing on ideology and interests. We test whether these factors are associated with support for increased funding for social welfare in China in four policy areas: healthcare, compulsory education, affordable housing, and poverty alleviation. We find greater support for an ideological or values-based explanation, as compared to self-interest. Moreover, we find that the preference for egalitarianism has a greater effect on support for policies that are conditional on income. These findings suggest that, in China, an individual’s values and ideology are better predictors of support for expanding social policy than self-interest.


Alex Jingwei He (Presenter), The Education University of Hong Kong
Dr He Jingwei, Alex is Associate Professor and Associate Head of the Department of Asian and Policy Studies, at the Education University of Hong Kong. Dr He specializes in public policy analysis, health policy and governance and social policy reform. He has published extensively in these areas, contributing articles to leading international journals and publishing houses, including Public Administration Review, The China Quarterly (2013, 2018), Health Policy and Planning (2014, 2016), Social Science and Medicine, Health Policy, Journal of Contemporary China, Social Policy and Administration, Policy and Society, Public Administration and Development, and Ageing and Society.