- Yeung, Eddy S. F. 2023. “Overestimation of the Level of Democracy among Citizens in Nondemocracies.” Comparative Political Studies 56(2): 228–66. [replication material, preprint]
- Abstract: Overestimation of the level of democracy is prevalent among citizens in nondemocracies. Despite such prevalence, no research to date has systematically documented this phenomenon and examined its determinants. Yet given the renewed interest in the role of legitimacy in authoritarian survival, studying whether and why this phenomenon arises is important to our understanding of authoritarian resilience. I argue that, even in the absence of democratic institutions in nondemocracies, autocrats exercise media control in order to boost their democratic legitimacy. This façade of democracy, in turn, benefits their survival. Combining media freedom data with individual survey response data that include over 30,000 observations from 22 nondemocracies, I find that overestimation of the level of democracy is greater in countries with stronger media control. But highly educated citizens overestimate less. These findings shed light on media control as a strategy for authoritarian survival, and have important implications for modernization theory.
- Keywords: nondemocratic regimes, comparative public opinion, media control, democratic legitimacy, authoritarian resilience.
- Yeung, Eddy S. F. 2022. “Can Conservatives Be Persuaded? Framing Effects on Support for Universal Basic Income in the US.” Political Behavior, in press. [replication material, pre-analysis plan, slides]
- Abstract: Universal basic income (UBI) has been proposed as a policy response to technological advances and structural inequality. Yet, recent data show that most conservatives in Europe and the US are strongly opposed to the welfare proposal. Can framing UBI as a policy that conforms to their ideological predispositions overcome such opposition? Exploiting the compatibility of UBI with core conservative ideals such as individualism and laissez-faire government, I design an original survey experiment that randomly exposes respondents to one of two frames: (1) an equalizing-opportunity frame which emphasizes that UBI creates a level playing ﬁeld and promotes self-responsibility, or (2) a limiting-government frame which highlights UBI as a policy that limits government and reduces bureaucracy. I find that American conservatives—identified by using 10 policy statements—remained strongly opposed to UBI even after they were presented with such frames. Analyses of open-ended responses, which show that how conservatives explained their opposition to UBI remained unchanged regardless of framing, reinforce this conclusion. Conservatives’ opposition to UBI remained rigid, even after the key components of UBI that ﬁt the conservative ideology were accentuated. These results shed light on the political feasibility of framing UBI, and the rigidity of welfare attitudes among American conservatives.
- Keywords: universal basic income, framing, conservative, welfare, public opinion.
- Yeung, Eddy S. F., and Kai Quek. 2022. “Relative Gains in the Shadow of a Trade War.” International Organization 76(3): 741–65. [replication material]
- Coverage: U.S.-China Perception Monitor.
- Abstract: When do people care about relative gains in trade? Much of the international relations scholarship—and much of the political rhetoric on trade—would lead us to expect support for a trade policy that benefits ourselves more than it benefits others. Yet, a large interdisciplinary literature also points to the prevalence and importance of other-regarding preferences, rendering the conventional wisdom contestable. We investigate whether and how relative gains influence trade preferences through an original survey experiment in the midst of the China–US trade war. We find that in a win-win scenario, relative gains shape trade opinion: if both sides are gaining, people want to gain more than their foreign trade partner. However, these considerations are offset in a win-lose scenario where the other side is losing out. Relative-gains considerations causally affect opinion on trade, but not in a “beggar-thy-neighbor” or even a “beggar-thy-rival” situation. These findings contribute to our understanding of the role of relative gains in international relations and provide the first experimental evidence that relative-gains considerations can be offset by other-regarding preferences in international trade.
- Keywords: relative gains, trade, public opinion, survey experiment.
- Yeung, Eddy S. F. 2021. “Does Immigration Boost Public Euroscepticism in European Union Member States?” European Union Politics 22(4): 631–54. [replication material, preprint]
- Coverage: European Politics and Policy.
- Abstract: A number of studies have established a strong link between anti-immigration and Eurosceptic attitudes. But does this relationship necessarily imply that more immigration would increase public Euroscepticism in member states of the European Union? I evaluate this question by analyzing immigration data and Eurobarometer survey data over the period 2009–2017. The analysis shows no evidence that individual levels of Euroscepticism increase with actual levels of immigration. This result suggests that a strong link between anti-immigration and Eurosceptic attitudes does not necessarily translate into a strong link between immigration levels and public Euroscepticism. Public Euroscepticism can still be low even if immigration levels are high.
- Keywords: European integration, Euroscepticism, immigration, public opinion.
Working Papers / Pre-Analysis Plans
Please email me for the latest drafts.
- Wang, Hsu Yumin, and Eddy S. F. Yeung. “Faking Democracy: The Legitimizing Role of Redistributionist Propaganda in Autocracies.” R&R at Journal of Politics.
- Yeung, Eddy S. F., Felix Wang, and Kai Quek. “What Is a Patriot?”
- Yeung, Eddy S. F. “The Logic of Provocative Propaganda in the Shadow of Democratic Uprisings.”
- Yeung, Eddy S. F. “Learning to Love Trade? The Effects of Sociotropic Information on Public Support for International Trade.” [pre-analysis plan 1, pre-analysis plan 2]
- Yeung, Eddy S. F., and Joseph Glasgow. “Racialized Misinformation, Factual Corrections, and Prejudicial Attitudes: The Cases of Welfare and Immigration” [pre-analysis plan 1, pre-analysis plan 2]
- Quek, Kai, and Eddy S. F. Yeung. “Reciprocity in the Shadow of a Trade War.”
Null Results Reports
- Wang, Hsu Yumin, and Eddy S. F. Yeung. 2022. “Attitudes toward Internal Migrants and Support for Redistribution: Evidence from Shanghai.” [replication material, pre-analysis plan]
Work in Progress
- “Propaganda as Provocation: How Autocrats Use Political Rhetoric to Impede Democratic Uprisings” (dissertation book project)
- “Measuring Preference Intensity: An Investigation into the Sensitivity of Quadratic Voting and an Application in State Politics” (with Zachary Peskowitz)
- “Mass Understandings of Democracy: Experimental Evidence from a Six-Country Survey” (with Jonathan Chu and Scott Williamson)
- “Do External Threats Depolarize Americans? An Experimental Test in the Shadow of China’s Rise”
- “Democratic Benchmarking” (multi-paper project with Jennifer Gandhi)
- “Understanding Taiwan’s Resilience amid the Threat of War” (multi-paper project with Renard Sexton, Hans Tung, and Hsu Yumin Wang)