Mattias Ottervik

Associate Professor
Shandong University, Qingdao

My research agenda explores the relationship between gender, how societies are governed, and social and economic development. Fundamentally, I am interested in the question of why some regions see peace and development while others struggle with conflict and poverty.

About Me

Associate professor at the School of Political Science and Public Administration at Shandong University. I received my PhD in political science from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with the thesis "Gender and Progress: How Gender Equality Affects Long-Term Human Development." Before that I earned a master’s degree in political science from the University of Gothenburg, and a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University. Prior to my graduate studies I worked in Japan as a market researcher and then as a network administrator.

My research agenda explores the relationship between gender, how societies are governed, and social and economic development. It addresses the question of why some regions see peace and development while others struggle with conflict and widespread poverty. In my thesis research I found that even with extensive controls -- including historical levels of development, quality of government, and gender relations -- changes in substantive gender equality lead to long-term improvements in quality of government and development. The long-term effect on social and economic development of changes in gender equality are greater than the effect of quality of government.

I am an affiliate of the WomanStats Project, a global network of scholars studying the link between gender and governance.


Investigating the Relationship Between Gender Equality and Citizen Trust: Evidence from Latin America

Social Science Quarterly, Forthcoming with Yunsoo Lee

Previous literature shows that gender equality is an important predictor of different kinds of trust. The literature on trust has shown a clear relationship between social and economic equality and trust, but the relationship between gender equality and trust has received relatively little attention. This study addresses that lacuna and analyzes the relationship between gender equality and political trust as well as social trust. Expand abstract »

Using the 2015 Latinobarómetro we test the relationship between two kinds of gender equality, labor gender equality and overall gender equality, and two kinds of trust, political trust and social trust in a series of regressions. The results show that gender equality is positively associated with social and political trust. In particular, the magnitude of association of labor gender equality with social trust is greater than that of overall gender equality. Also, the magnitude of association of overall gender equality with political trust is greater than that of labor gender equality. Our paper contributes to the literature by demonstrating that overall gender equality and labor gender equality have varying association with trust depending on types of trust.
Social Science Quarterly

Operational Dilemmas and Cadre Education and Training at a County Party School in China

The China Quarterly, Forthcoming with Haoyu Wang and Zhen Li

Since the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012, the Party school system has been subject to several reforms. How well these reforms have been implemented in lower-level Party schools has received little attention because access is difficult to obtain. Expand abstract »

We conducted on-site investigations, interviews with cadres and surveys of trainees at a county/district-level Party school in an eco- nomically typical city and county. Our findings show that operational dilemmas lead to the perfunctory implementation of policy that is substantively deficient. These operational dilemmas are likely to be found in varying degrees in other county/district Party schools. Our finding that cadre education and training policy is implemented in a pro forma manner suggests that cadres may not be receiving the ideological education and practical training intended for them by the centre.
The China Quarterly

Stalled and Uneven? A Hierarchical Age-Period-Cohort Analysis of Gender Attitudes in the Public Sphere in China 1995-2018

Chinese Sociological Review, 2023 with Zheng SU

This study investigates gender attitudes in the public sphere in China from 1995 to 2018 using World Values Survey data. Although overall support for gender equality in the public sphere has been stable, gender attitudes in the constituent domains of work, politics, and education differ from one another and over time. Expand abstract »

Egalitarianism is highest in education, while attitudes in the domain of work are on a trajectory to become more egalitarian than in politics. To identify what factors contribute to attitudinal change the Hierarchical Age-Period-Cohort (HAPC) model is used. Age effects are always significant, and there is a U-shaped relationship between age and egalitarianism. Period effects are moderately significant and cohort effects are less statistically significant. Higher education levels are associated with higher levels of gender egalitarianism for women than for men. While rural residency is associated with less egalitarian gender attitudes, rural residency for women is associated with more egalitarian attitudes than for men. These results suggest that an age-, domain- and gender-specific approach is helpful to understand gender attitudes in the public sphere in modern China.
Chinese Sociological Review


当代世界社会主义问题, 2023 with 李济时

2022年瑞典议会选举,右翼民粹主义政党瑞典民主党取得重大突破,这是近20年来瑞典政治变局的集中体现。这一变局背后的原因及其对于瑞典政党政治和移民政策带来的深远影响值得探究。Expand abstract »


Gender system and corruption: Patriarchy as a predictor of “fairness”

Governance, 2023 with Zheng SU

This article tests gender system as a mediator in the relationship between gender and corruption. Using data from World Values Survey we find a robust, significant link between acceptance of patriarchy and acceptance of corruption. Expand abstract »

We also find a significant link between acceptance of male superiority and acceptance of corruption. In the relationship between gender and attitudes toward corruption, gender system is a consistently statistically significant predictor of acceptance of corruption whereas gender is not. The predictive power of acceptance of patriarchy and male superiority on corruption holds even with extensive controls. These results provide insight into the link between gender and corruption and suggest some of the wide-ranging effects of gender system on the political system.

Blunting the Later-Mover Advantage: Intellectual Property and Knowledge Transfer

Akron Law Review, 2019 with Irina Manta

The United States followed a path of initially giving little protection to intellectual property (IP) such as to benefit from the IP of those we term earlier-movers on the world stage of economic development. This symposium piece argues that Japan and China have been following a similar trajectory in their intellectual property laws while progressing on their own economic climb. Expand abstract »

Widespread international outsourcing of manufacturing has made intellectual property a key asset for private companies strengthening tendencies of earlier-movers to formulate and enforce strict intellectual property laws. This suggests that countries like China respond not only to pressure from earlier-movers like the United States to increase intellectual property protection, but are also driven by concerns against their own later-movers. Perhaps curiously, if the hierarchy of movers shifts, the relative interest in intellectual property enforcement will as well, and China will seek to protect its goods against infringement by the likes of the United States and Japan someday.
Akron Law Review

Transforming Long-Term Care in Three Chinese Societies

Transforming Societies (edited by Ngoh Tiong Tan), 2017 with Shiyu Lu

This chapter compares long-term care of the elderly (LTCE) in three Chinese societies: the Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Taiwan. These societies are in the middle of a rapid transformation from overwhelmingly young to increasingly ageing societies, with a rising need for LTCE. Expand extract »

This is a drastic break from the recent past when schooling, not elderly care, absorbed the attention of policy makers. These societies are directly influenced by Confucian culture and history, and are comparable from a developmental perspective (e.g. scoring 0.894, 0.922, and 0.975 respectively on the Health dimension of the Human Development Index in 2011) (UNDP 2013), but have been under very distinctive political systems with very different administrative histories.

Swedes and Civil Society (in Swedish)

Mittfåra och Marginal (edited by Henrik Oscarsson and Annika Bergström), 2014 with Edvin Boije

Civilsamhället är ett begrepp som på senare år kommit att användas allt mer flitigt i den svenska samhällsdebatten. Att begreppet som sådant ännu inte riktigt fått fäste i det svenska medvetandet beror emellertid inte på att det rör sig om någon ny företeelse. Däremot är begreppet civilsamhälle betydligt mindre etablerat i Sverige än i den engelskspråkiga världen där motsvarande, civil society, i stort sett är allmänt känt. Expand extract »

I Sverige talar vi istället ofta om folkrörelser och i såväl politiska dokument som i den egna självbilden har folkrörelser traditionellt sett benämnts närmast synonymt med civilsamhället och den ideella sektorn. I och med regeringens proposition "En Politik för det Civila Samhället" ersattes den officiella folkrörelsepolitiken 2009 med en officiell ”politik om det civila samhället” och i samma proposition konstaterar regeringen att ”den svenska demokratins historia till stora delar är det civila samhällets historia” (Prop. 2009/10:55). Demokratiska rättigheter som allmän och lika rösträtt, jämställdhet och offentlighetsprincipen hade sannolikt inte varit en självklarhet idag utan den kamp människor fört utifrån sitt ideella engagemang.
SOM Institute, Gothenburg University

Does Compliance Correlate with Political Support?

The Quality of Government Institute Working Paper Series, 2014 with Peter Essaiasson

The literature on state legitimacy posits a close relationship between attitudinal political support and compliant behavior. The relationship is well theorized, but an examination of the empirical evidence suggests a significant lacuna. Expand abstract »

In the literature that focuses citizens’ attitudinal political support, the relationship has been tested through the use of proxies for behavior. In the literature that focuses states’ actions to coax compliance out of citizens, the relationship is derived from behavior. To begin fill this gap in the research, the paper estimates country-level correlations between standard measures of attitudinal political support and a compliant behavior index generated by us. Using data from comparative survey studies (attitudinal support) and official records (compliant behav- ior), we find a strong and consistent correlation between the two key variables.
Quality of Government Institute, Gothenburg University

Conceptualizing and Measuring State Capacity: Testing the Measurement Validity of Tax Compliance as Measure of State Capacity

The Quality of Government Institute Working Paper Series, 2013

This paper proposes and quantitatively tests a measurement of state capacity using Robert Adcock and David Collier’s four-step framework. Expand abstract »

Drawing from the work of state-centered structuralists, rational choice-inspired theorists, as well as studies of the relationship between state and extractive capacity, state capacity is defined as the ability of the state to dominate, i.e. coax compliant behavior from, the individuals of a given territory and operationalized as tax compliance (as measured by the size of the shadow economy relative all legal economic activity). Large-n correlations as well as regression tests show that this operationalization has convergent and discriminant validity, as well as explanatory power. A paired comparison between China and India suggests that this operationalization is able to account for the differences in apparent governance capacity and development performance that other governance measurements cannot.
Quality of Government Institute, Gothenburg University