Political Research Quarterly

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Epistemic Communities and Public Support for the Paris Agreement on Climate Change

    We study how informing the public about the views of international policy experts shapes public support for international cooperation. Using survey experiments, we test whether variation in levels of support among experts with differing types of domain-specific knowledge can shape public support for a recent and politically salient international treaty: the UNFCCC COP21 Paris Climate Agreement. Our results show that the public is, under certain conditions, deferential to the views of experts, with respondents reporting increasingly higher levels of support for the COP21 agreement as support among experts increased. In addition, we provide suggestive evidence that domain-specific expertise matters: When it comes to support for the COP21 agreement, the public is most sensitive to the views of climate scientists, while exposure to the views of international relations and international economics experts have less dramatic and less consistent effects. Despite these results, we find that it is exposing the public to information about opposition to a proposed treaty among members of relevant epistemic communities that has greatest and most consistent effects. Our findings thus provide new insight into the conditions under which epistemic communities can shape public support for particular policy alternatives.

  • TRENDS: The Influence of Personalized Knowledge at the Supreme Court: How (Some) Former Law Clerks Have the Inside Track

    When arguing at the U.S. Supreme Court, former High Court law clerks enjoy significant influence over their former justices. Our analysis of forty years of judicial votes reveals that an attorney who formerly clerked for a justice is 16 percent more likely to capture that justice’s vote than an otherwise identical attorney who never clerked. What is more, an attorney who formerly clerked for a justice is 14 to 16 percent more likely to capture that justice’s vote than an otherwise identical attorney who previously clerked for a different justice. Former clerk influence is substantial, targeted, and appears to come from clerks’ personalized information about their justices. These results answer an important empirical question about the role of attorneys while raising normative concerns over fairness in litigation.

  • Emotional Responses Shape the Substance of Information Seeking under Conditions of Threat

    Menacing news inclines individuals to acquire information, and research has explored how emotional reactions such as fear or anger condition this process. While scholars have debated the relevance of fear and anger for levels of attentiveness and learning in politics, fewer studies consider how variation in emotional responses can shape the substance of information searches in times of threat. We posit that heightened fear motivates interest in defense-oriented information among threatened individuals, while heightened anger motivates interest in aggression-oriented information. To test these hypotheses, we focus on international terrorist threat because of its known tendency to elevate both anger and fear. We use data that permit a behavioral measure of information seeking, via an experiment embedded within a Dynamic Process Tracing Environment (DPTE) platform. Within this information-rich context, exposure to terrorist threat motivates a search for relevant information. Furthermore, we find that while an induction to elevate anger prompts more immediate attention to aggression-oriented information, an induction to elevate fear is more effective in steering attention toward defense-oriented information.

  • Legitimate Authority in Forceful Resistance and the Consent Requirement

    Individual victims of injustice may permissibly engage in a range of dissident activities to challenge unjust practices, policies, or institutions, so they could better enjoy their entitlements as a matter of justice. Resisters typically claim to engage in resistance for a larger group of victims, but the conditions leading to resistance tend to prevent them from obtaining a clear mandate from their “constituents.” In recent debates on legitimate authority to use defensive force, several theorists argue that such authority requires actual and informed consent of the victims on whose behalf resistance is undertaken. This article argues against that view. Two interpretations of the consent requirement are examined. In the first, consent of the people is measured by popular support for a resistance movement. In the second, consent is regarded as a kind of moral resource that can serve to justify defensive force. After refuting the arguments in support of the consent requirement, this article develops an alternative account of legitimate authority in forceful resistance which is not based on consent. It identifies a set of criteria for evaluating the insurgents’ claim to legitimate authority.

  • What Drives Women’s Substantive Representation in Muslim-Majority Countries? Lessons from Turkey

    Although a voluminous literature has studied the substantive representation of women, these studies have largely been confined to advanced democracies. Similarly, studies that focus on the relationship between Islam and women’s rights largely ignored the substantive representation of women in Muslim-majority countries. As one of the first studies of its kind, this article investigates the role of religion in the substantive representation of women by focusing on a Muslim-majority country: Turkey. Using a novel data set of 4,700 content coded private members’ bills (PMBs) drafted in the Turkish parliament between 2002 and 2015, this article synthesizes competing explanations of women’s representation in the Middle East and rigorously tests the implications of religion, ideology, critical mass, and labor force participation accounts. The results have significant implications for the study of gender and politics in Muslim-majority countries.

  • Ideology and Specific Support for the Supreme Court

    We develop and assess an account of ideological asymmetries in public support for the Supreme Court. We find that specific support for the Supreme Court is more strongly negatively related to perceptions that the Court is overly liberal than perceptions that the Court is overly conservative. Our findings provide a more complete theoretical account of dynamics in specific support for the Supreme Court and indicate a mechanism behind the recent decline in the Supreme Court’s public standing.

  • Ne Me Quitte Pas: The Laws’ Argument in Plato’s Crito and Migrants’ Obligations to Their Political Communities

    This paper argues that in their criticism of Socrates’s prospective evasion, the Laws of the Crito make two arguments relevant to the discussion of the ethics of migration, labeled here the “Argument from Parentage” and the “Argument from Corruption.” When considered from the perspective of liberal democracies, those arguments help us realize that political communities should be considered as a subject of justice in migration alongside individuals, and that migration might entail some citizen-to-community obligations. This means that some correctives may be justified to offset the moral costs of some acts of migration. This paper concludes by exploring how the extension of local voting rights in absentia could be one such corrective.

  • From Generation to Generation: The Role of Grandparents in the Intergenerational Transmission of (Non-)Voting

    The literature on the reproduction of political participation across generations has focused almost exclusively on parental effects. Yet, other family members may plausibly play an important role as well. This study explores the role of grandparents in the intergenerational transmission of the propensity to vote. Grandparental effects are theorized in terms of both social learning and status transmission. The analysis takes advantage of a unique dataset that links official turnout data for grandparents, parents, and adult grandchildren with demographic and socioeconomic information from administrative sources. Even controlling for a variety of status-related characteristics, grandchildren are significantly less likely to vote when their grandparents are non-voters. The association between grandparental turnout and the turnout of their adult grandchildren is only partly explained by the mediating effect of parental turnout. Having non-voting grandparents appears to reinforce the effect of having parents who do not vote and may even offset the effects of having parents who are both voters. These results suggest that it is time to take the role of grandparents seriously if we want to understand how political disadvantage is transmitted across generations.

  • Political Ideology and Issue Importance

    Past research has shown that issues vary significantly in their salience across citizens, explaining key outcomes in political behavior. Yet it remains unclear how individual-level differences in issue salience affect the measurement of latent constructs in public opinion, namely political ideology. In this paper, we test whether scaling approaches that fail to incorporate individual-level differences in issue salience could understate the predictive power of ideology in public opinion research. To systematically examine this assertion, we employ a series of latent variable models which incorporate both issue importance and issue position. We compare the results of these different and diverse scaling approaches to two survey data sets, investigating the implications of accounting for issue salience in constructing latent measures of ideology. Ultimately, we find that accounting for issue importance adds little information to a more basic approach that uses only issue positions, suggesting ideological signals for measurement models reside most prominently in the issue positions of individuals rather than the importance of those issues to the individual.

  • Revisiting the Causal Links between Economic Sanctions and Human Rights Violations

    There is some consensus in the literature that economic sanctions might prompt more human rights abuses in target countries. Yet, the causal mechanisms underlining the sanctions–repression nexus remain little understood. Using causal mediation analysis, we examine the processes through which sanctions might deteriorate human rights conditions. We specifically propose two indirect mechanisms driving human rights violations: increased domestic dissent and reduced government capacity. Sanctions are likely to trigger domestic dissent, and this instability would further induce the government to employ repression. Reduced government capacity caused by sanctions will harm the government’s ability to screen and oversee its security agents, which would subsequently lead to increased human rights abuses. Results from a time-series, cross-national data analysis indicate that sanctions-induced dissent, particularly violent dissent, plays a significant mediating role in the sanctions–repression link. Likewise, we find strong evidence that diminished fiscal capacity triggered by sanctions is likely to result in more repression. There is also some modest evidence that corruption as a proxy for poor governance mediates the sanctions–repression relationship.

Featured documents

  • Shared Identities: Intersectionality, Linked Fate, and Perceptions of Political Candidates

    Scholars of gender and race have long acknowledged the importance that descriptive representation plays for marginalized groups, if not substantively than symbolically. Yet, as candidate pools diversify to better reflect the population, it becomes less clear which among intersecting and overlapping ...

  • Beyond Mere Presence: Gender Norms in Oral Arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court

    Women are less successful than their male counterparts at Supreme Court oral arguments under certain circumstances. However, existing work relies on mere presence rather than on any action female attorneys take in their argument. Drawing on recent work that stresses gender is performative, I argue...

  • Extra-judicial Actor Induced Change in Supreme Court Legitimacy

    Although public support for the U.S. Supreme Court is generally stable, various cues and heuristics affect how individuals derive political opinions. And while the Court is capable of conferring support on its own decisions, information from extra-judicial sources—such as presidential candidates—may...

  • Can Celebrities Set the Agenda?

    Why do some issues make it on to the public agenda while others do not? While this question has received a great deal of research attention, a definitive answer remains elusive. In this paper, I conduct a posttest only, control group survey experiment to test the hypothesis that popular celebrities ...

  • Congressional Politics of U.S. Immigration Reforms

    How are legislative outcomes shaped by multidimensional negotiations? Examining the legislative politics of U.S. immigration reforms, I show how alternating coalitions in multidimensional negotiations produce centrist legislative outcomes. In doing so, this article sheds light on a puzzling aspect...

  • Visual Information and Candidate Evaluations: The Influence of Feminine and Masculine Images on Support for Female Candidates

    Existing research debates the extent to which feminine and masculine stereotypes affect voters’ impressions of female candidates. Current approaches identify how descriptions of female candidates as having feminine or masculine qualities lead voters to rely on stereotypes. We argue that extant...

  • Palmetto Postmortem: Examining the Effects of the South Carolina Voter Identification Statute

    In 2011, South Carolina passed a government-issued photo identification (ID) statute. We examine the effects of this law on overall turnout, as well as for minority turnout in particular. A series of difference-in-difference tests are specified using individual-level population data on registrants...

  • Amnesia, Nostalgia, and the Politics of Place Memory

    This article examines two seemingly opposed modes of place-making, urban sprawl and historic preservation, and their relationship to memory. The author contends that urban sprawl creates a landscape of either willful or accidental amnesia, where the powers of place are neutralized by ignoring them...

  • Agenda Setting through Social Media: The Importance of Incidental News Exposure and Social Filtering in the Digital Era

    Conventional models of agenda setting hold that mainstream media influence the public agenda by leading audience attention, and perceived importance, to certain issues. However, increased selectivity and audience fragmentation in today’s digital media environment threaten the traditional agenda-sett...

  • Asian Candidates in America

    Racial stereotyping has been found to handicap African American and Latino candidates in negative ways. It is less clear how racial stereotypes may change the fortunes of Asian candidates. This paper explores the candidacies of Asian Americans with an experiment run through Amazon Mechanical Turk...

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