nep-cna New Economics Papers
on China
Issue of 2019‒04‒29
two papers chosen by
Zheng Fang
Ohio State University

  1. Right-wing populist discourse on Chinese social media: Identity, otherness, and global imaginaries By Chenchen Zhang
  2. It’s All in the Stars: The Chinese Zodiac and the Effects of Parental Investments on Offspring’s Cognitive and Noncognitive Skill Development By Chih Ming Tan; Xiao Wang; Xiaobo Zhang

  1. By: Chenchen Zhang
    Abstract: The last few years have seen the emergence of a right-wing populist discourse on Chinese social media that combines the claims, vocabulary, and style of right-wing populisms in Europe and North America with previous forms of nationalism and racism in Chinese cyberspace. In other words, it provokes a similar hostility towards immigrants, Muslims, feminism, the so-called ‘liberal elites’, and progressive values in general. This article examines how, in debating global political events such as the European refugee crisis and the American presidential election, well-educated and well-informed Chinese internet users appropriate the rhetoric of ‘Western-style’ rightwing populism to paradoxically criticise Western hegemony and discursively construct China’s ethno-racial and political identities. Through qualitative analysis of 1,038 postings retrieved from a popular social media website, this research shows that by criticising Western ‘liberal elites’, the discourse constructs China’s ethno-racial identity against the ‘inferior’ non-Western other, exemplified by non-white immigrants and Muslims, with racial nationalism on one hand; and formulates China’s political identity against the ‘declining’ Western other with realist authoritarianism on the other. We conclude by conceptualising the discourse as embodying the logics of anti-Western Eurocentrism and anti-hegemonic hegemonies. This article 1) provides critical insights into the changing ways in which self/other relations are imagined in Chinese popular geopolitical discourse; 2) sheds light on the global circulation of extremist discourses facilitated by the internet; and 3) contributes to the ongoing debate on populism and the ‘crisis’ of the liberal world order.
    Keywords: China, Far-Right, Extreme-right, social networks
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Chih Ming Tan (Department of Economics, University of North Dakota, USA; Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis); Xiao Wang (International Institute of Finance, University of Science and Technology of China, China); Xiaobo Zhang (National School of Development, Peking University, China; International Food Policy Research Institute, USA)
    Abstract: The importance of (early) parental investments in children’s cognitive and noncognitive outcomes is a question of deep policy significance. However, because parental investments are arguably endogenous, empirically estimating their importance poses a challenge. This paper exploits a rich and novel dataset, the China Family Panel Studies, and proposes a culture-specific instrumental variable based on the Chinese zodiac, in order to identify the impact of parental investments. By looking at the outcomes of children born just before and just after the cutoff for a “lucky” (or “nonlucky”) zodiac sign, we find that parents' investments have significant effects on their offspring’s development of both cognitive and noncognitive skills.
    Keywords: Cognitive Skills; Noncognitive Skills; Parental Investments; Zodiac Signs; China
    JEL: I10 I15 J24 O12 O53
    Date: 2019–04

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