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Does the emerging middle class support democracy? A comparative analysis of China, countries with authoritarian political regimes and recent post-socialist democracies

Ivlevs, Artjoms

Authors



Abstract

Does the emerging middle class support democracy? This study provides a comparative analysis of political attitudes, actions, and preferences of the middle class in China, other countries characterized by authoritarian political regimes/tendencies (Russia, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan), and post-socialist countries that have recently established democratic regimes (Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova). Conceptually, the study draws on the insights from the modernization and critical junctures theories of economic growth and political development, as well as the neo-Weberian approach to social-economic development. The empirical analysis, based on data from the World Values Survey, shows a positive association between the middle class status and preference for democratic governance in China; this link tends to be stronger than in other countries with authoritarian tendencies, but weaker than in the post-socialist democracies, especially those that are members of the EU. Compared to other country groups, the middle class in China are most likely to support strong leaders and least likely to take part in demonstrations and strikes. Consistently with the neo-Weberian approach, the preferences towards democracy in different countries can be explained by country-wide cultural attitudes.

Citation

Ivlevs, A. (2023). Does the emerging middle class support democracy? A comparative analysis of China, countries with authoritarian political regimes and recent post-socialist democracies. Journal of Economic Issues, 57(1), 62-79. https://doi.org/10.1080/00213624.2023.2154537

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 28, 2023
Publication Date Apr 1, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 6, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 29, 2024
Journal Journal of Economic Issues
Print ISSN 0021-3624
Electronic ISSN 1946-326X
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 1
Pages 62-79
Series Title SPECIAL ISSUE: Neo-Weberian Approaches to China: Cultural Attitudes and Economic Development
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/00213624.2023.2154537
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/9232260
Publisher URL https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00213624.2023.2154537