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This chapter presents the theoretical framework and research design of the book. Drawing on cleavage theory, we argue that the new fault lines around globalization can no longer be captured along the classic redistributional left-right axis. From debates in political philosophy, we infer a distinction between ‘cosmopolitans’, who advocate open borders, universal norms, and supranational authority, and ‘communitarians’, who defend border closure, cultural particularism and national sovereignty. We also distinguish two hybrid positions, which we label ‘liberal nationalism’ and ‘regionalism’. In terms of processes of social structuration underlying conflicts related to globalization, we distinguish three explanations: an economic one, centred around the differential materials costs and benefits for various collective actors; a cultural one, centred around access to transnational cultural capital and a political one that captures the differing degree to which actors have access to supranational forums of decision-making. Finally, we introduce the book’s research design, the rationale behind the choice of countries and issues, and the main methods used to investigate them.
Word embeddings, the coefficients from neural network models predicting the use of words in context, have now become inescapable in applications involving natural language processing. Despite a few studies in political science, the potential of this methodology for the analysis of political texts has yet to be fully uncovered. This paper introduces models of word embeddings augmented with political metadata and trained on large-scale parliamentary corpora from Britain, Canada, and the United States. We fit these models with indicator variables of the party affiliation of members of parliament, which we refer to as party embeddings. We illustrate how these embeddings can be used to produce scaling estimates of ideological placement and other quantities of interest for political research. To validate the methodology, we assess our results against indicators from the Comparative Manifestos Project, surveys of experts, and measures based on roll-call votes. Our findings suggest that party embeddings are successful at capturing latent concepts such as ideology, and the approach provides researchers with an integrated framework for studying political language.
Proceeding population aging might fuel generational conflicts about the distribution of welfare state resources in the future, but the existing evidence on the extent of generational cleavages in attitudes towards the welfare state is mixed. We argue that these mixed findings are partially related to an underestimation of trade-offs on the level of individual preferences. Using novel data from a survey experiment conducted in eight Western European countries, we show that age-related self-interest is an important determinant of social policy preferences. When elderly respondents are confronted with hypothetical cutbacks in pensions, they are much less likely to support additional education spending. However, we also find evidence for a mediating effect of social trust: high-trusting elderly individuals are more likely to support education spending – contrary to their narrow self-interest – than low-trusting elderly.
This paper introduces a dynamic perspective on how (personal) political ideology shapes reactions to immigration policies at the mass level. Greater ethnic diversity and growing calls for multiculturalism represent a disproportionately greater challenge to rightists because they value conformity, tradition, and stability more than leftists. Consequently, we hypothesize that the impact of political ideology on opposition to immigration has become stronger over time. Analyses show that: (a) leftists were less opposed to immigration than rightists in both 2002 and 2014, and (b) rightists have become more opposed to immigration in the time between 2002 and 2014, whereas leftists’ reactions remained stable across this period. We tested our motivated reasoning hypothesis in a repeated cross-sectional (fixed effects regression) analysis of individual-level data from 18 countries (N = 55,367). The individual-level data on political ideology and immigration policy preferences is from the European Social Survey data sets fielded in 2002 and 2014.
Recent research has revealed the complex origins of political identification and the possible effects of this identification on social and political behavior. This article reports the results of a structural equation analysis of national survey data that attempts to replicate the finding that an individual’s negativity bias predicts conservative ideology. The analysis employs the Motivational Activation Measure (MAM) as an index of an individual’s positivity offset and negativity bias. In addition, information-seeking behavior is assessed in relation to traditional and interactive media sources of political information. Results show that although MAM does not consistently predict political identification, it can be used to predict extremeness of political views. Specifically, high negativity bias was associated with extreme conservatism, whereas low negativity bias was associated with extreme liberalism. In addition, political identification was found to moderate the relationship between motivational traits and information-seeking behavior.
The American public's beliefs about the causes of social inequality vary greatly, with debates over the causes of racial inequality tending to be the most salient and divisive. Among whites in particular, liberals tend to see inequality as rooted in society's ills, whereas conservatives tend to see inequality as rooted in individuals’ shortcomings. Given this, many infer that white conservatives are more likely than white liberals to adopt the controversial view that racial inequality is “natural,” i.e., due to genetically inherited characteristics. We argue that genetic explanations for racial inequality, in and of themselves, offer little appeal to white conservatives. However, when white citizens are exposed to media messages that emphasize the egalitarian implications of genetic similarity between racial groups, those on the left and right engage in biased assimilation, resulting in a “nature” (conservative) versus “nurture” (liberal) divide. Data from two studies of white Americans—one representative survey and one experiment—support this theoretical framework.
The right–left dimension is ubiquitous in politics, but prior perspectives provide conflicting accounts of whether cultural and economic attitudes are typically aligned on this dimension within mass publics around the world. Using survey data from ninety-nine nations, this study finds not only that right–left attitude organization is uncommon, but that it is more common for culturally and economically right-wing attitudes to correlate negatively with each other, an attitude structure reflecting a contrast between desires for cultural and economic protection vs. freedom. This article examines where, among whom and why protection–freedom attitude organization outweighs right–left attitude organization, and discusses the implications for the psychological bases of ideology, quality of democratic representation and the rise of extreme right politics in the West.
This research explores the impact of gender representation at the state and local levels on redistributive choices. This research also examines whether female officeholders moderate the impact of the local economy and institution on welfare spending. Hypotheses are tested across 58 counties in California over ten years, between 2001 and 2010. According to the fixed effect models, women in state legislature had a positive effect on local welfare spending, while women on county boards had no significant effect. However, a positive moderating effect of women on county boards during economic hardship was found. Three categories of control variables include institutional factors, such as the introduction of Proposition 1A and county home rule; political factors, such as the political preference of each county’s residents and strength of non-profit organisations; and socio-economic factors, such as intergovernmental revenue, unemployment rate and demographics. Counties with more intergovernmental revenue and supporters of Democratic presidential candidates are likely to spend more on welfare services.
Recent studies suggest that personality traits affect not only ordinary citizens’ political ideology but also their opinions on specific social or political issues. In line with these studies, this article examines the relationship between personality traits — measured by the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) — and South Koreans’ attitudes toward North Korea. The results from statistical analysis of two nationally representative surveys reveal that people who are conscientious are less likely to feel close to North Korea and more likely to believe North Korea is a hostile nation, whereas those high on Openness are more likely to harbour positive attitudes toward North Korea. Given that attitudes toward North Korea have been the most important determinant of political ideology in South Korea, these findings seem to be consistent with those of pre-existing studies.
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