Triumphalism and the Inconvenient Truth: Correcting Inflated National Self-Images in a Rising Power
Haifeng Huang, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Merced
Do people in a rising authoritarian power with pervasive propaganda and information control overestimate their country’s power and popularity in the world? This is an important question since inflated national self-images and bravado can intensify international conflicts and harm a country’s own development. I show with survey evidence that the Chinese public overwhelmingly overestimate China’s soft power and global popularity. Correcting such misperceptions negatively affects Chinese citizens’ views of China and moderates their expectations about the country’s external success. These effects from simple and brief information treatments last at least two weeks, and they suggest that self-aggrandizement and triumphalism can be meaningfully mitigated.
This event will be held on-site in the CSCC conference room, but with a Zoom option.
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