Yue Hu

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Yue Hu earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science in the spring of 2018. His research interests include language policy, political communication, and inequality. He particularly focuses on how language policy affects citizens' political attitudes, relations, and value systems and how government-to-citizen communication influences public opinion. 
Apart from his primary field of comparative politics, he does research in political methodology with special interest in survey experimentation, spatial analysis, network analysis, and data visualization. Finally, in the area of international relations, Hu studies soft power and public diplomacy.


University of South Carolina, M.A. in Political Science, 2013
University of Regina, M.A. in Political Science, 2011
Nankai University, B.L.L in International Relations, 2009


  • Ballard and Seashore Fellowship, Univ. of Iowa, 2017
  • Post-Comprehensive Research Award, Univ. of Iowa, 2016
  • T. Anne Cleary International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Univ. of Iowa, 2016


  • Center of Asian and Pacific Studies Graduate Dissertation Grant, 2016
  • Graduate School Senate Supplemental Travel Funds Award, 2016
  • Graduate & Professional Student Government Travel Grant, 2016


  • “The Weight of History: Explaining the Anti-Japanese Sentiments in the Chinese Circle.” Paper presented with Amy Liu at Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) Annual Convention, Chicago, Illinois, April, 7-9, 2017.
  • “The Logic of Peaceful Rise.” Paper presented with Ray Ou-Yang at International Studies Association(ISA) Annual Convention, Baltimore, Maryland, Feb. 22–25, 2017.
  • “Propaganda with Museums: A Spatial Analysis of Patriotic Educational Demonstration Bases in China”. Paper presented at Association of Chinese Political Science (ACPS) Annual Meeting, Monterey, California, Oct, 10–11, 2016.


  • Hu, Yue. “Are Informal Education Facilities Effective Means for Generating Political Support? A Spatial Analysis.” Social Science Quarterly, (2018): Forthcoming.
  • Claypool, Vicki Hesli, William Reisinger, Marina Zaloznaya, Yue Hu, and Jenny Juehring. “Tsar Putin and the ‘Corruption’ Thorn in his Side: The Demobilization of Votes in a Competitive Authoritarian Regime.” Electoral Studies, 54 (2018): 182-204.
  • Solt, Frederick, Yue Hu, Kevan Hudson, Jungmin Song, and Dong ‘Erico’ Yu. “Economic Inequality and Class Consciousness.” Journal of Politics, 3 (2017).
  • Solt, Frederick, Yue Hu, Kevan Hudson, Jungmin Song, and Dong ‘Erico’ Yu. “Economic Inequality and Belief in Meritocracy in the United States.” Research and Politics, 3-4 (2016):1-7.
  • Tang, Wenfang, Yue Hu, and Shuai Jin. “Affirmative Inaction: Education, Social Mobility, and Ethnic Inequality in China.” Chinese Sociological Review, 48-4 (2016): 346-66.
  • Hu, Yue. “Institutional Difference and Cultural Difference: A Comparative Study of Canadian and Chinese Cultural Diplomacy.” Journal of American-East Asian Relations, 20.2-3 (2013): 256-68.

Dissertation Title

Rebuilding the Tower of Babel: Language Policy and Political Trust in China

Dissertation Abstract

My dissertation explores how authoritarian governments use language policy to impact public political trust. Based on a comprehensive examination through survey analyses, experiments, and large-scale text analyses, my research demonstrates that authoritarian governments, such as in China, can use language policy as a political tool to influence citizens’ political attitudes. In particular, language policy empowers the official language used by government representatives, such as street-level bureaucrats, reinforcing their political identities and enhancing citizens’ trust in them. Using an original randomized experiment in China based on a new sociolinguistic technique, my research finds robust evidence that listeners hold significantly more trust in bureaucrats who speak the official language than in those who speak dialects, even if the respondent and government representative share the same dialect. Furthermore, my research shows that language not only influences citizens’ political trust but also their understanding of political concepts. Using a computer-assisted text analysis of over one million articles from the official newspaper of the dominant party of China from 1946-2003, I indicate a refocusing strategy by which the official discourse about democracy manipulates the meaning of democracy in the Chinese political language without contradicting with the Western democratic values, while simultaneously preserving the authoritarian regime. Drawing on multiple waves of nationally representative surveys from China, my dissertation also identifies distinctive effects of improving listening, speaking, and relative proficiencies of Putonghua on Chinese citizens’ political interest, efficacy, pursuit, and institutional-based political trust. This study contributes to political science, and even the entire social science by justifying the important role of language in human social and political lives and turning the research focus from language content to language context.

Dissertation Chair

Wenfang Tang

Dissertation Committee

William Reisinger, Frederick Solt, Caroline Tolbert, David C. Johnson

Dissertation Completion Date

April 11, 2018