Comparative Political Studies

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Can Conservatism Make Women More Vulnerable to Violence?

    Violence against women (VAW) affects at least 35% of women worldwide. The need to combat VAW is seemingly noncontroversial: As existing work shows, ideology does not explain governments’ propensity to adopt anti-VAW legislation. Yet, effectively implementing anti-VAW legislation requires complex policy frameworks at odds with conservative values. Voters’ preferences can meaningfully influence policy outputs, so can electoral conservatism make women more vulnerable to violence? Employing data from 5570 Brazilian municipalities, we find that conservatism in the electorate is associated with the adoption of fewer anti-VAW policies. With data from a nationally representative survey of Brazilian respondents (N = 2086), we then show that conservative voters are less likely to prioritize the need for tackling VAW. That is, the adoption of fewer anti-VAW policies in conservative municipalities reflects conservative voters’ policy preferences. Critically, our results suggest that in contexts where the electorate holds conservative preferences, policy responsiveness may incur costs to women’s lives.

  • When Marriage Gets Hard: Intra-Coalition Conflict and Electoral Accountability

    Combining individual-level with event-level data across 25 European countries and three sets of European Election Studies, this study examines the effect of conflict between parties in coalition government on electoral accountability and responsibility attribution. We find that conflict increases punishment for poor economic performance precisely because it helps clarify to voters parties’ actions and responsibilities while in office. The results indicate that under conditions of conflict, the punishment is equal for all coalition partners when they share responsibility for poor economic performance. When there is no conflict within a government, the effect of poor economic evaluations on vote choice is rather low, with slightly more punishment targeted to the prime minister’s party. These findings have important implications for our understanding of electoral accountability and political representation in coalition governments.

  • Are Immigrant-Origin Candidates Penalized Due to Ingroup Favoritism or Outgroup Hostility?

    An influential explanation for the persistent political underrepresentation of minorities in elected office is that minority candidates are discriminated against by voters of the dominant ethnic group. We argue, however, for the need to distinguish between two forms of discrimination: ingroup favoritism and outgroup hostility. We measure the impact of each by using an extensive data set drawn from Swiss elections, where voters can cast both positive and negative preference votes for candidates. Our results show that immigrant-origin candidates with non-Swiss names incur an electoral disadvantage because they receive more negative preference votes than candidates with typically Swiss names. But we also find that minority candidates face a second disadvantage: voters discriminate in favor of majority candidates by allocating them more positive preference votes. These two forms of electoral discrimination are critically related to a candidate’s party, whereas the impact of the specific outgroup to which a minority candidate belongs is less pronounced than expected.

  • Why People Turn to Institutions They Detest: Institutional Mistrust and Justice System Engagement in Uneven Democratic States

    Does political mistrust lead to institutional disengagement? Much work in political science holds that trust matters for political participation, including recourse to the justice system. Scholars of judicial institutions, relying largely on survey research, argue that low trust decreases legal compliance and cooperation, threatening the rule of law. Legal consciousness and mobilization scholars, meanwhile, suggest that trust does not drive justice system engagement. However, their single-case study approach makes assessing the wider implications of their findings difficult. Based on an innovative comparative focus-group study in two uneven democratic states, Chile and Colombia, we show that trust is not the primary factor driving justice system engagement. Rather, people’s engagement decisions are shaped by their expectations and aspirations for their political system and by their politically constructed capacities for legal agency. Our study offers insights of relevance for analysts of various forms of political participation in uneven democratic states across the globe.

  • Technological Risk and Policy Preferences

    Despite recent attention to the economic and political consequences of automation and technological change for workers, we lack data about concerns and policy preferences about this structural change. We present hypotheses about the relationships among automation risk, subjective concerns about technology, and policy preferences. We distinguish between preferences for compensatory policies versus “protectionist” policies to prevent such technological change. Using original survey data from Spain that captures multiple measures of automation risk, we find that most workers believe that the impact of new technologies in the workplace is positive, but there is a concerned minority. Technological concern varies with objective vulnerability, as workers at higher risk of technological displacement are more likely to negatively view technology. Both correlational and experimental analyses indicate little evidence that workers at risk or technologically concerned are more likely to demand compensation. Instead, workers concerned about technological displacement prefer policies to slow down technological change.

  • Satisfaction With Democracy: When Government by the People Brings Electoral Losers and Winners Together

    The last decade has witnessed the rise of populist parties and a number of actors that question liberal democracy. Many explanations of this rely on dissatisfied citizens. We ask in this article whether and how institutions allowing citizens to participate in policy-making affect differences in democratic satisfaction within varying representative contexts as well as between electoral winners and losers. To do so, we first develop a measure of sub-national direct democracy and then use it together with extensive survey data to investigate how direct democracy is associated with citizens’ evaluation of their democratic system. We conclude that direct democracy is not generally related to more satisfied people but rather closes the “satisfaction-gap” between electoral winners and losers. In contrast to previous research, we demonstrate that this mechanism holds across different representative systems.

  • The Long-Term Impact of Mobilization and Repression on Political Trust

    Authoritarian regimes respond to threatening student movements with repression and censorship. In many cases, failed movements are effectively erased from public memory. Do such movements affect long-term attitudes? We use a survey of college graduates to measure the impact of a failed student movement. Some of our respondents began college immediately before a major protest; others started after the movement had been suppressed. Using a fuzzy regression discontinuity, we find that individuals who attended college during the movement are significantly less likely to trust the government, more than 25 years later, than individuals who enrolled after the protests. The effects are strongest for trust in the central government, and weakest for local government. These results are robust to a range of specifications, and show that the experience of mass mobilization and state repression can have a long-term impact on public attitudes, even if the event in question remains taboo.

  • Insiders, Outsiders, Skills, and Preferences for Social Protection: Evidence From a Survey Experiment in Argentina

    Standard theories in comparative political economy predict that labor market insiders oppose redistribution to poorer, often informal, labor market outsiders. In contrast, I argue that not all insiders oppose redistribution to outsiders. Extending recent work emphasizing the importance of economic insecurity for insiders, I argue that exposure to risk leads to greater polarization regarding preferences for non-contributory social policy between low- and high-skilled insiders. I test implications of this logic using a survey experiment from a nationally representative sample in Argentina and complement this with analysis of observational data for 16 Latin American countries. I find strong evidence of polarization regarding preferences over social protection among low- and high-skilled insiders. The experiment reveals that low (high)-skilled insiders primed about the risk of becoming outsiders become more supportive of transfers to outsiders (insiders). The article provides new micro-foundations for insider–outsider coalitions in support of social policy expansion in middle-income countries.

  • Parliamentary Representation and the Normalization of Radical Right Support

    How do stigmatized political preferences become normalized? I argue that the parliamentary representation of the radical right normalizes radical right support. Radical right politicians breach established social norms. Hence their supporters have an incentive to conceal that support. When the radical right enters parliament, however, its voters are likely to perceive that their views have been legitimized, becoming more likely to display their private preferences. I use three studies to test this argument. Study 1 employs a regression discontinuity comparing the underreport of voting for radical right parties (RRPs) above and below thresholds of parliamentary representation. Study 2 compares how much individuals report liking RRPs in post-electoral surveys depending on interview mode. Study 3 employs a difference-in-differences that looks into the underreport of UKIP vote before and after entering parliament. The results support the argument and highlight the role of political institutions in defining the acceptability of behaviors in society.

  • Why Physical Barriers Backfire: How Immigration Enforcement Deters Return and Increases Asylum Applications

    What, if any, effect do physical barriers have on cross-border population movements? The foundational claim that barriers reduce migration flows remains unsupported. We conceptualize barriers as a tool of immigration enforcement, which we contend is one form of state repression. State repression could reduce mobilization (reduce immigration), have no effect on mobilization (barriers as symbolic political tools), or increase mobilization (backfire). We evaluate the relationship between barriers and cross-border population movements using a global directed dyad-year dataset for the 1990–2016 time period of all contiguous dyads and nearby non-contiguous dyads. Using instrumental variables, we find that physical barriers actually increase refugee flows, consistent with the “backfire effect” identified in research on United States immigration enforcement policies on its Mexican border. Furthermore, we find that state repression (immigration enforcement) creates this “backfire effect” via a “sunk costs” problem that reduces movements of people and increases movement of status from migrant to refugee.

Featured documents

  • Mobilizing From Scratch: Large-Scale Collective Action Without Preexisting Organization in the Syrian Uprising

    Core social movement research argues that large-scale challenges to authority build upon preexisting organization and civil society resources. How do dissenters mobilize masses in repressive settings where, given curtailment of civil society, autonomous associations scarcely exist and norms...

  • Self-Selection into Public Service When Corruption is Widespread: The Anomalous Russian Case

    Drawing on experimental games and surveys conducted with students at two universities in Russia, we compare the behavioral, attitudinal, and demographic traits of students seeking public sector employment to the traits of their peers seeking jobs in the private sector. Contrary to similar studies...

  • Economic Hardship and Policy Preferences in the Eurozone Periphery

    What is the impact of economic suffering on support for euro membership and austerity policies in the Eurozone periphery? This article uses original public opinion and firm surveys conducted in Spain in the midst of the great recession to describe the structure of preferences toward the euro as a...

  • Civilian Contention in Civil War: How Ideational Factors Shape Community Responses to Armed Groups

    Why do some communities overtly declare their opposition to violent groups, while others disguise it by engaging in seemingly unrelated activities? Why do some communities manifest their dissent using nonviolent methods instead of organizing violence of their own? I argue that ideational factors...

  • The Ideological Shadow of Authoritarianism

    How do the labels left and right take on meaning in new democracies? Existing explanations point to the universality of the left–right scheme or, reversely, emphasize regionally dominant social cleavages. We propose an alternative legacy-focused theory based on two observations: Dictatorships are...

  • Being There Is Half the Battle: Group Inclusion, Constitution-Writing, and Democracy

    Using an original data set assessing the effect of the 195 new constitutions worldwide over the past 40 years on levels of democracy, this article argues that when popular participation and group inclusion are both considered, inclusion is what matters. After showing that group inclusion generates...

  • Multiculturalism and Muslim Accommodation

    This article assesses the apparent effect of political multiculturalism on tolerance of Muslim accommodation among native-born majority members. Our principle goal is in understanding how public opinion on religious accommodation varies as a function of both federal multicultural policy, on one...

  • When Grapevine News Meets Mass Media

    This article examines factors that shape people’s perceptions of government corruption in mainland China. We are particularly interested in how people acquire information on local corruption, given the general lack of pertinent firsthand experience. We combine data from a national survey in...

  • Social Networks and the Targeting of Vote Buying

    The social networks of voters have been shown to facilitate political cooperation and information transmission in established democracies. These same social networks, however, can also make it easier for politicians in new democracies to engage in clientelistic electoral strategies. Using survey...

  • (Sub)national Principals, Legislative Agents

    To what extent do external actors control the careers of national legislators in federal systems? Although previous research has demonstrated that multiple principals shape legislative behavior in federal systems, prior studies have been much less successful at demonstrating the relative power of...

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