To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Do the styles politicians use influence how voters evaluate them, and does this matter more for women than for men? Politicians regularly use anecdotal arguments, emotional appeals and aggressive attacks when communicating with voters. However, that women politicians have been branded as ‘nasty’, ‘inhuman’ and ‘unfeminine’ suggests that these strategies may come at a price for some. I report on a novel survey experiment assessing whether voters are biased in their perceptions and evaluations of politicians' communication styles. By manipulating politician gender and argument style, I assess, first, whether politicians incur backlash when violating gender-based stereotypes and, secondly, whether differential perceptions of the styles themselves explain this backlash. I find that style usage has important consequences for how voters evaluate politicians but that this is not gendered. These results have important implications, as they suggest that women politicians may not need to conform to stereotype-expected behaviours in order to receive positive voter evaluations.
Public opinion research has shown that voters accept many falsehoods about politics. This observation is widely considered troubling for democracy – and especially participatory ideals of democracy. I argue that this influential narrative is nevertheless flawed because it misunderstands the nature of political understanding. Drawing on philosophical examinations of scientific modelling, I demonstrate that accepting falsehoods within one's model of political reality is compatible with – and indeed can positively enhance – one's understanding of that reality. Thus, the observation that voters accept many political falsehoods does not necessarily establish that they lack political understanding. I then address three worries: that voters cannot generally engage in such political modelling; that political modelling obscures facts that are crucial to political understanding; and that successful political modelling would require knowing that one's model contains falsehoods. My responses reveal how, going forward, we should measure political ignorance, and they highlight the standing importance of participatory democracy.
Understanding the determinants of support for democracy remains at the heart of many puzzles in international and comparative political economy. A central but still unresolved topic in this literature is the conditions under which such support dissipates. To answer this question, this article focuses on distributional politics: since democratic leaders possess limited budgets but need to win elections, they often skew resources toward one politically influential sector, leading to more negative attitudes toward democracy among electorally ignored populations. In particular, we argue that governments often face a key political trade-off: whether to direct resources to the agricultural sector or to encourage urban development. After developing this argument in a formal model, we detail historical accounts that substantiate the mechanisms identified in the model. Finally, we provide cross-national quantitative evidence that discontent with democracy increases among geographic populations when governments disproportionately distribute resources toward other sectors.
Do economic experiences early in life affect regime support later in life? Effects of recent economic performance on regime support are extensively studied, but lasting effects of individual-level economic experiences across the lifespan remain unexplored. We argue that in democracies and autocracies alike, economic experiences in early adulthood (that is, age eighteen to twenty-eight) are wired into people's memories and become important cues for their democratic support later in life. Having lived in a well-performing economy in a democracy increases democratic support throughout most of people's lives, whereas having lived in a well-performing economy in an autocracy decreases democratic support throughout most of people's lives. Using extensive survey data on support for democracy covering ninety-seven countries from 1994 to 2015, we find support for these propositions, demonstrating that economic experiences in early adulthood, conditional on the regime in place at the time, have strong, robust and lasting effects on democratic support.
Partisans rarely punish their party at the polls for violating democratic norms or cheating in elections. However, we know little about the underlying reasons. I examine why partisans rarely sanction in-party malpractice. Using pre-registered survey experiments in Denmark and Mexico, I examine the different steps in how partisans adjust their views in response to revelations of electoral malpractice and distinguish between two substantively different explanations. Do pervasive biases prevent partisans from viewing in-party malpractice as illegitimate? Or, do partisans accurately update their views when learning about malpractice but refrain from voting against their party? The analysis demonstrates that partisans do not apply double standards when evaluating malpractice. However, although partisans punish in-party malpractice, they hold opposing parties in such low esteem that even revelations of malpractice do not change their minds. These findings contribute to our understanding of how partisans think about electoral malpractice and political malfeasance more broadly.
Electoral violence is perpetrated by anti-systemic actors opposed to the democratic system, as well as by those vying for power through the electoral process. Even though the motivations for violent tactics are distinct, we do not know whether intra- and anti-systemic violence differ in their effects. Focusing on state-level elections in India – a country that combines nationwide elections with persistent political violence – we demonstrate that the distinction is crucial for understanding spatial patterns of electoral violence and effects on election outcomes. Based on an original dataset of violence in legislative assembly elections between 1985 and 2008, we show that both tactics depress turnout overall but that the effect is larger for anti-systemic violence. Intra-systemic violence not only appears to be more selectively targeted, as it is more likely to occur in constituencies where the incumbent belongs to the state-level opposition, but also generates electoral benefits for the party in control of state government.
Building on recent developments in the literature, this article addresses a prominent research question in the study of civil conflict: what explains violence against civilians? We use a novel computational model to investigate the strategic incentives for victimization in a network setting; one that incorporates civilians’ strategic behavior. We argue that conflicts with high network competition—where conflict between any two actors is more likely—lead to higher rates of civilian victimization, irrespective of the conflict's overall intensity or total number of actors. We test our theory in a cross-national setting using event data to generate measures of both conflict intensity and network density. Empirical analysis supports our model's finding that conflict systems with high levels of network competition are associated with a higher level of violence against the civilian population.
A large literature examines how citizens in violent conflicts react to the conflict's events, particularly violent escalations. Nevertheless, the temporal nature of these attitudinal changes remains under-studied. We suggest that popular reactions to greater violence are typically immediate but brief, indicating short-term emotional responses to physical threats. Over the longer term, however, public opinion is more commonly shaped by non-violent events signaling the adversary's perceived intentions, reflecting slower but deeper belief-updating processes. We support this argument using dynamic analyses of comprehensive monthly data from Israel spanning two full decades (2001–20). Rather than violence levels, we find that long-term changes in Jewish attitudes on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict follow non-violent events implying Palestinian preferences, particularly failed negotiations and out-group leadership changes. Our findings underscore the importance of public opinion's temporal dynamics and show that non-violent events, which are often overlooked in the literature, play a prominent role in shaping long-term attitudes in conflictual contexts.
Territorial contenders are political entities that control populated territories but lack recognition as sovereigns. They pose existential threats to their host states by reshaping recognized borders and generating zones of contested authority. States have strong incentives to eliminate them, and yet they persist—developing countries host an average of three territorial contenders within their borders. Understanding why territorial contenders survive and how they die is a critical puzzle in the study of state making. International forces offer important, if overlooked, explanations for these seemingly domestic processes. First, we argue that international rivals perpetuate the existence of territorial contenders by undermining a state's ability to reintegrate them through peaceful negotiations or by force. Secondly, the international human rights treaty regime provides a mechanism by which territorial contenders can galvanize support from potential allies, increasing a state's willingness and ability to resolve these disputes through peaceful reintegration processes.
Why do states engage in irredentism? Expanding on previous scholarship, this article advances a new theory with rationalist microfoundations that accounts for the incentives of both elites and citizens to support irredentism in democracies and dictatorships. Our model suggests irredentism is more likely when it enables political elites to provide a specific mix of private goods, public goods, and welfare transfers to citizens who desire them at the lowest tax rate. This leads to the prediction that irredentism is most likely in majoritarian democratic electoral systems and military dictatorships, and least likely in proportional electoral systems and single-party dictatorships. We test and find supportive evidence for these expectations using a comprehensive dataset covering all observed and potential irredentist cases from 1946 to 2014.
Vastly increased transnational business activity in recent decades has been accompanied by controversy over how to cope with its social and environmental impacts. The most prominent policy response thus far consists of international guidelines. We investigate to what extent and why citizens in a high-income country are willing to restrain companies to improve environmental and social conditions in other countries. Exploiting a real-world referendum in Switzerland, we use choice and vignette experiments with a representative sample of voters (N = 3,010) to study public demand for such regulation. Our results show that citizens prefer strict and unilateral rules (with a substantial variation of preferences by general social and environmental concern) while correctly assessing their consequences. Moreover, exposure to international norms increases demand for regulation. These findings highlight that democratic accountability can be a mechanism that motivates states to contribute to collective goods even if not in their economic interest and that awareness of relevant international norms among citizens can enhance this mechanism.
This article investigates how class of origin and intergenerational social mobility impact left-wing party support among new and old core left-wing electorates in the context of post-industrial electoral realignment and occupational transformation. We investigate the remaining legacy of political socialization in class of origin across generations of voters in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. We demonstrate that part of the contemporary middle-class left-wing support is a legacy of socialization under industrial class–party alignments, as many individuals from working-class backgrounds – traditional left-wing constituencies – have a different (post-industrial) class location than their parents. These enduring effects of production worker roots are weaker among younger generations and in more realigned contexts. Our findings imply that exclusively considering respondents' destination class underestimates the relevance of political socialization in class of origin, thereby overestimating electoral realignment. However, these past industrial alignments are currently unparalleled, as newer left-wing constituencies do not (yet) demonstrate similar legacies.
A growing body of research demonstrates that political involvement by Christian religious leaders can undermine the religion's social influence. Do these negative consequences of politicization also extend to Islam? Contrary to scholarly and popular accounts that describe Islam as inherently political, we argue that Muslim religious leaders will weaken their religious authority when they engage with politics. We test this argument with a conjoint experiment implemented on a survey of more than 12,000 Sunni Muslim respondents in eleven Middle Eastern countries. The results show that connections to political issues or politically active religious movements decrease the perceived religious authority of Muslim clerics, including among respondents who approve of the clerics' political views. The article's findings shed light on how Muslims in the Middle East understand the relationship between religion and politics, and they contribute more broadly to understanding of how politicized religious leaders can have negative repercussions for religion.
Why do dictators purge specific elites but not others? And why do dictators purge these elites in certain ways? Examining these related questions helps us understand not only how dictators retain sufficient competence in their regimes to alleviate popular and foreign threats, but also how dictators nullify elite threats. Dictators are more likely to purge first-generation elites, who are more powerful because they can negotiate their role from a position of strength and possess valuable vertical and horizontal linkages with other elites. Further, dictators tend to imprison purged first-generation elites – rather than execute, exile or simply remove them – to avoid retaliation from other elites or the purged elite continuing to sow discord. We find empirical support for our predictions from novel data on autocratic elites in 16 regimes from 1922 to 2020.
Politicians engage in, and the media amplifies, social constructions of welfare recipients as undeserving. Such messaging seeks to influence mass public opinion, but what are the effects on the target population receiving welfare benefits? We test if deservingness messaging affects welfare recipients' mental health. To do so, we exploit a quasi-experiment entailing a dramatic shift in deservingness messaging after a welfare recipient in Denmark became the subject of a national debate, utilizing detailed administrative data on the ensuing consumption of antidepressants by other welfare recipients. We find evidence that welfare recipients experienced worse mental health outcomes after being exposed to deservingness messaging, reflected in a 1.2-percentage-point increase in the use of antidepressants in the weeks following the airing of a critical interview. Deservingness messaging particularly affected more vulnerable groups who had a history of mental health problems.
This article contributes to normative debates about residential segregation and its relationship to inequality. It defends a position often disregarded in literature: that there is merit to advancing residential integration through some scenarios where advantaged individuals move to disadvantaged areas. It develops this case in dialogue with three other views. In relation to advocates of addressing the inequalities of residential segregation through redistribution, it defends integration as a means of tackling social and political factors that sustain injustice. It challenges those who defend relocating disadvantaged individuals to advantaged areas by highlighting the burdens and demand for cultural assimilation this imposes on the disadvantaged. It considers the worry that advantaged individuals relocating to disadvantaged areas harbours the problematic features of gentrification. It responds that these concerns, while important in some cases, do not arise in all scenarios of this kind.
International solidarity is indispensable for coping with global crises; however, solidarity is frequently constrained by public opinion. Past research has examined who, on the donor side, is willing to support European and international aid. However, we know less about who, on the recipient side, is perceived to deserve solidarity. The article argues that potential donors consider situational circumstances and those relational features that link them to the recipients. Using factorial survey experiments, we analyse public support for international medical and financial aid in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our results show that recipient countries' situational need and control, as well as political community criteria, namely, group membership, adherence to shared values and reciprocity, played a crucial role in explaining public support for aid. Important policy implications result: on the donor side, fault-attribution frames matter; on the recipient side, honouring community norms is key to receiving aid.
This article offers an evaluation of cross-national measures of ethnic socio-economic inequality. It demonstrates that the measures differ in important ways regarding empirical scope, conceptualization, measurement and aggregation. Despite significant advances in the measurement of ethnic inequality, all measures have shortcomings, such as limited and biased coverage, as well as measurement error from the underlying data sources. Moreover, the empirical convergence between conceptually similar measures is strikingly low: some of the measures show no or even negative covariation. Four replication studies also indicate that extant measures of ethnic inequality are generally not interchangeable. Scholars should therefore take the various features highlighted in this evaluation into account before employing any of them. Based on this conclusion, the article offers multiple suggestions for improving existing measures and developing new ones.
Across Western democracies, immigration has become one of the most polarizing and salient issues, with public discourses and individual attitudes often characterized by misperceptions. This condition undermines people's ability to develop informed opinions on the matter and runs counter to the ideal of deliberative democracy. Yet, our understanding of what makes immigration so prone to misperceptions is still limited – a conundrum that this review seeks to answer in three steps. First, we take stock of the existing evidence on the nature of misperceptions about immigration. Secondly, we borrow from diverse bodies of literature to identify their motivational underpinnings and elaborate on how the protection of group identity, the defence of self-interest and security concerns can lead to distorted perceptions of immigration. Thirdly, we highlight relevant determinants of misperceptions at the level of both contextual influences and individual predispositions. We conclude that misperceptions about immigration are ubiquitous and likely to remain a key element of immigration politics.
The conventional view of corruption emphasizes its detrimental impact on the evaluations of public institutions. This view implies that in corruption-intense environments, the public should exert strong pressure on relevant authorities to combat corruption. Yet, multiple historical accounts suggest that in such contexts, corruption tends to thrive even despite extensive state-imposed anti-corruption measures. In this letter, we address this puzzle by studying the context-dependent effects of individual experiences of petty corrupt exchanges on the popular evaluation of public institutions. Drawing on the literature on the functionality of informal exchanges and normalization of corruption, we posit that negative effects of such experiences will be attenuated by the presence of institutional corruption among public service providers. In contexts permeated by corruption, corrupt exchanges will become routine, with limited effect on citizens' perceptions of street-level bureaucracy. Our empirical test, relying on a unique cross-national survey dataset from Central-Eastern Europe and a fine-grained ecological (municipality-level) indicator of corruption, largely supports these conjectures.