ISTPP researchers Dr. Xinsheng Liu and Dr. Arnold Vedlitz, along with ISTPP research follow, Dr. Youlang Zhang, have published their paper “Political Values and Life Satisfaction in China” in The China Quarterly. In this paper, the authors investigated the relationship between political values and life satisfaction of individual citizens governed under authoritarian regimes.
Specifically, the authors used data from a recent national public survey in China to empirically analyze how fundamental political values–authoritarianism and national attachment–affect life satisfaction of citizens in modern China. They found that Chinese citizens who held a stronger authoritarian ideology and national attachment reported having greater levels of life satisfaction, indicating a connection between political values of citizens and their perceptions of life satisfaction. They also found that political values explain the life satisfaction of citizens of authoritarian regimes more than socioeconomic or psychological indicators. They argued that this study enhances the current understanding of sociopolitical stability in authoritarian governments like China, where life satisfaction is viewed as a source or indicator of state legitimacy, survival, stability, and political reform. The authors recommended that further exploration of this topic would help evaluate the political implications of the link from citizens’ political values to their life satisfaction assessments.