Political Research Quarterly

Publisher:
Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
2021-09-06
ISBN:
1065-9129

Latest documents

  • 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.

  • From Mistrust to Understanding: Inclusive Constitution-Making Design and Agreement in Tunisia

    In 2014, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA) almost unanimously approved the country’s first democratic constitution despite significant identity-based divisions. Drawing on the Tunisian case, the article explores the role of an inclusive constitution-making process in fostering constitutional agreement during democratization. Emerging studies that link different process modalities to democracy have so far brought only limited illumination to how inclusive processes matter, nor were these propositions systematically tested. Using process tracing, and building on original interviews gathered in Tunisia between 2014 and 2020, this article traces a causal mechanism whereby an inclusive constitution-making process allowed for a transformation of interpersonal relationships between political rivals. It demonstrates that more than two years of regular interactions allowed NCA deputies to shatter some of the prejudices that initially separated especially Islamist and non-Islamist partisans and develop cross-partisan ties, thus facilitating constitutional negotiations. However, I argue that the way these transformations contributed to constitutional settlement is more subtle than existing theories envisaged, and suggest alternative explanations. The article contributes to the debate about constitution-making processes by unpacking the understudied concept of partisan inclusion and applying it empirically to trace its effects on constitutional agreement, bringing precision and nuance to current assumptions about its benefits.

  • Institutional Context and Accountability for Political Distrust

    This project investigates how voters hold government electorally accountable for perceived untrustworthiness, and particularly how this accountability is conditioned by institutional context. Studies show that political distrust is associated at least as much with attitudes toward the legislative branch as with attitudes toward the executive. With this in mind, I consider two contextual factors. First, whether a party that controls both branches of government may affect the degree to which its candidates face electoral accountability for distrust in government. Second, whether voters who are being asked to elect a representative to the legislative branch as opposed to the executive may affect which institution’s ruling party is more likely to be held accountable. I analyze these relationships using survey data from the American National Election Study covering over half a century. The results demonstrate that institutional context conditions both when and whom voters hold accountable for their distrust in government.

  • Merit, Luck, and Taxes: Societal Reward Rules, Self-Interest, and Ideology in a Real-Effort Voting Experiment

    When are high earnings considered a legitimate target for redistribution, and when not? We design a real-effort laboratory experiment in which we manipulate the assignment of payrates (societal “reward rules”) that translate performance on a real-effort counting task into pre-tax earnings. We then ask subjects to vote on a flat tax rate in groups of three. We distinguish three treatment conditions: the same payrate for all group members (“equal” reward rule), differential (low, medium, and high) but random payrates (“luck” rule), and differential payrates based on subjects’ performance on a quiz with voluntary preparation opportunity (“merit” rule). Self-interest is the dominant tax voting motivation. Tax levels are lower under “merit” rule than under “luck” rule, and merit reasoning overrides political ideology. But information is needed to activate merit reasoning. Both these latter effects are present only when voters have “full merit knowledge” that signals precisely how others obtained their incomes.

  • Mill on Deference and Democratic Character

    Citizens of liberal democracies today increasingly exhibit a distrust of perceived elites, especially experts and those of advanced educational attainment more generally. John Stuart Mill’s work offers potential responses to this phenomenon. Mill regards deference to superior wisdom as an essential part of a well-developed character while esteeming independent thought. Although his emphasis on the importance of character formation is well known, his concern for inculcating a salutary form of deference has been underexplored. I show how Mill’s approaches to this task include redesigning the political process to amplify the voice of the highly educated, promoting more widespread opportunities for learning, and consistently emphasizing the partiality of human understanding. I also compare Mill’s treatment of the place of deference in democratic politics with that of Alexis de Tocqueville’s, and consider how Tocqueville might critique Mill’s strategies for cultivating deference. In so doing, I demonstrate how these authors provide us with resources for navigating the tensions between popular sovereignty and expertise, and between independent thought and intellectual authority.

  • 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 identities will matter and how. Employing data from the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey, we explore the association between minority voters’ sense of linked fate and their beliefs about candidates who share (or do not share) their gender and racial identities. Using this timely and unique data, collected immediately after the 2016 election when race and gender were of particular salience, we examine whether shared racial and gender identity is associated with Black and Latina/o voters’ beliefs about how well different candidates will represent their interests. We conclude by discussing the implications of our research for the changing face of American political candidates and voters.

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 ...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Our State’s Never Had Better Friends

    We demonstrate that senators use office allowances to create positive constituent service and policy expert impressions among voters, but the effects depend on the representational expectations of constituents and the nature of dual representation. Whether a senator shares the same party and...

  • Disinformation as a Threat to Deliberative Democracy

    It is frequently claimed that online disinformation threatens democracy, and that disinformation is more prevalent or harmful because social media platforms have disrupted our communication systems. These intuitions have not been fully developed in democratic theory. This article builds on systemic ...

  • Spinoza’s Liberal Republicanism and the Challenge of Revealed Religion

    Spinoza’s Theologico-Political Treatise is a foundational liberal work whose republican teaching also anticipates today’s communitarian critiques. Those critiques reopen the Treatise’s guiding question of whether politics must be grounded in a religious teaching, and they compel us to reconsider...

  • Augustine and Contemporary Republicanism: On Speech as Domination

    I argue that Augustine can inform contemporary republicanism in a way that has not yet been considered: by means of the utility of “overlapping consensus.” I first unpack Philip Pettit’s theory of republicanism and demonstrate that his work contains a significant “blind-spot,” namely, more...

  • Do Popular Votes on Rights Create Animosity Toward Minorities?

    We examine whether votes on minority rights make the public less sympathetic to the targeted group. Panel data are used to test whether votes on marriage changed public attitudes about gays and lesbians. We propose the marriage debate had a stigmatizing effect on attitudes about gays and lesbians...

  • 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...

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