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Better Government, Happier Residents? Quality of Government and Life Satisfaction in China

  • Huaxing Liu
  • Hong Gao
  • Qing HuangEmail author
Original Research
  • 79 Downloads

Abstract

How quality of government affects residents’ life satisfaction is a seldom discussed subject, especially in a non-democratic context. This research aims to address that gap by focusing on the case of China. It investigates the relation between different aspects of quality of government and Chinese residents’ happiness. Our data was provided by telephone interviews of 5015 residents in Shandong Province. The findings indicate that the majority of China’s citizens consider their lives offer them a high level of satisfaction. Positively and significantly contributing to their life satisfaction are the government’s trustworthiness and responsiveness, and its performance in public service delivery. This result implies that the quality of government has a positive and important impact on Chinese citizens’ happiness, both technically in terms of its ability to deliver public services efficiently, and politically in terms of the extent of democracy involved. But of these, it seems that the former is the more significant. The reasons for this lie in the country’s level of economic development, in China’s political culture, and in the policing mechanisms of the regime.

Keywords

Quality of government Life satisfaction China 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Jiayuan Li, Dr. Geoffrey Chen, Dr. Mattias Ottervik, Dr. Jintao Li, Dr. Zongfeng Sun, Dr. Wei He, Tim Davies and two reviewers for their comments and suggestions.

Funding

This work is supported by Major Projects of the National Social Science Fund [16ZDA080], Youth Project of National Social Science Fund of China [Grant No. 18CZZ021], and MOE (Ministry of Education in China) Youth Foundation Project of Humanities and Social Sciences [Grant No. 19YJC630102].

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Contemporary Socialism (ICS), School of Political Science and Public AdministrationShandong UniversityQingdaoChina
  2. 2.School of Political Science and Public AdministrationChina University of Political Science and LawBeijingChina

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