Esther Song

How Outsourcing Social Services to NGOs Bolsters Political Trust in China: Evidence from Shanghai

Chinese Political Science Review | 2022

  • Abstract

    The Chinese Communist Party has recently acknowledged its attempts to bolster good governance by outsourcing public and social service functions to social organizations—non-profit organizations, either created by relevant government bureaus, developed through non-profit incubators, or voluntarily created civil society groups. Do these services gender political trust for the party-state? Using matching methods on an original survey data collected in communities in Shanghai, this article reveals two important findings. (1) Service efficacy—the internal belief that one can affect the content of the services show strong correlation with political trust and the relationship is stronger than that between service quality and political support. (2) There is strong evidence for credit transfer—whilst accountability for these services is attributed to grassroots actors and there is strong correlation between service efficacy and political support, political support increases only for the central government level. The results show how the new programs of social service outsourcing and incorporation of non-governmental organizations in service provision can increase support for the party-state.


    Chinese Political Science Review


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