In Search of Self-Censorship

Xiaoxiao Shen, Rory Truex

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Item nonresponse rates across regime assessment questions and nonsensitive items are used to create a self-censorship index, which can be compared across countries, over time and across population subgroups. For many authoritarian systems, citizens do not display higher rates of item nonresponse on regime assessment questions than their counterparts in democracies. This result suggests such questions may not be that sensitive in many places, which in turn raises doubts that authoritarian citizens are widely feigning positive attitudes towards regimes they secretly despise. Higher levels of self-censorship are found under regimes without electoral competition for the executive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1672-1684
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 16 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


  • China
  • authoritarian
  • item nonresponse
  • preference falsification
  • self-censorship


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