The variant effect of decentralization on trust in national and local governments in Asia

Min Tang, Narisong Huhe

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This research responds to the need to study trust in the national government (national trust) and in local government (local trust) simultaneously and investigates how decentralization reshapes political attitudes toward different layers of government. The argument is that decentralization contributes to variant patterns of political trust, defined by the relative strength of national trust and local trust, across countries. A multilevel analysis of East Asian countries shows that decentralization nurtures local trust in democracies, but decreases local trust in autocracies. Further, decentralization boosts national trust in autocracies, but not in democracies. Such a variant effect of decentralization sheds light on regime stability and viability in democratic and authoritarian countries.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalPolitical Studies
Early online date30 Nov 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Nov 2014


  • political trust
  • national government
  • local government
  • East Asia
  • decentralization

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