Public Opinion and Trust in Times of Rising Populism: Evidence from East Asia

Dr. Edmund Cheng
Panel Code

Populism is on the rise in different parts of the world. This global trend has far-reaching economic, political, and social implications for domestic and international politics. What are the determinants and patterns of populist support in various democratic, authoritarian and hybrid regimes as well as Confucian societies in East Asia? Would the political ascendancy of populist parties or politicians stimulate fiscal profligacy, which in turn undermines macroeconomic stability? Would populism paradoxically strengthen regime's public support while lain down its institutional deficiency? How can we unpack the relationships between populism and social and institutional trusts? Why does economic growth enhance popular trust towards the government?
To answer the above questions, researchers should make sense of what populism is and how it is unfolded in the first place. Counting on the data obtained from various waves of the World Values Surveys and Asian Barometers Surveys in the Greater China Region, the proposed panel aims to provide an empirical assessment of public opinions in times of rising populism. In particular, we are interested in exploring the diversity in public opinions on immigration, partisan politics, economic evaluation, regime approval, civic and democratic attitudes, political engagement, institutional and social trust, and political efficacy. The papers in this panel will inform the studies of the determinants, impacts and variations of populism across East Asia and thereby advance the understanding of this global trend.