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 email@example.com 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.
Growing economic inequality has raised concerns that democratic governments are no longer responsive to popular demands for redistribution either because the state capacity is eroded by footloose capital or because the wealthy subvert democracy through the power of money. In this paper we critically assess these conjectures against long-standing arguments about redistribution and insurance under democracy. We test the alternatives on a new comprehensive dataset on income inequality from 17 advanced democracies between 1980 and 2019. We find that before taxes and transfers income inequality has increased markedly everywhere but also that government redistribution has played a critical role in compensating the middle class and to a perhaps surprising degree also the poor. However, the United States is a large outlier.
We develop a theory of the accumulation of state capacity as the outcome of a political competition between elites and (civil) society. State capacity is accumulated by elites, and it is productive as well as useful in controlling society. However, society can fight back and accumulate its own capacity, facilitating collective action. The theory leads to three distinct equilibria depending on initial conditions. One type, a weak state, emerges when society is strong relative to the elite. Another, a despotic state, originates where the elite is initially relatively powerful. A third type, an inclusive state, emerges when the elite and society are more evenly matched. The theory has several important implications; first, variation in state capacity does not require large structural differences; second, inclusive states have the highest levels of state capacity in the long run; third, the effects of shocks or external threats like wars are conditional on the balance of power between elites and society.
Radical right populist (RRP) parties are often described as Männerparteien, predominantly led by, represented by, and supported by men. Yet recently, these parties have elected more women. Under what conditions do we see this increase in women MPs? This paper presents a novel argument of strategic descriptive representation: electorally struggling RRP parties with large gender gaps in voter support increase their proportion of women MPs to attract previously untapped women voters. To test this argument, we develop the most comprehensive dataset to date on women MPs and gender differences in voter support across Europe and over time, covering 187 parties in 30 countries from 1985 to 2018. Our analyses confirm that RRP parties engage in strategic descriptive representation when they are both struggling electorally and suffering from a gender gap in support. Additional models reveal that this tactic is largely unique to RRP parties.
What is the relationship between armed violence and patriarchal values? This question is addressed with the help of a survey of young men in the conflict-affected southern provinces of Thailand. In Study 1 we find that men with more patriarchal values are more prone to volunteer for paramilitary service. Study 2 uses a natural experiment made possible by the conscription lottery in Thailand to compare survey responses of men who were involuntarily enlisted to do Military Conscription Service (treatment group) with the responses of men who participated in the lottery but were not enlisted (control group). We find no difference between the treatment and control groups in patriarchal values. We conclude that patriarchal values drive voluntary participation in armed conflict, whereas military service as a conscript in a conflict zone does not cause patriarchal values.
What drove an entire region in the Global South to significantly expand refugee protection in the early twenty-first century? In this paper, we test and build on political refugee theory via a mixed-methods approach to explain the liberalization of refugee legislation across Latin America. First, we use data from the new APLA Database, which measures legislative liberalization over a 30-year period, and test both general and region-specific immigration and refugee policy determinants through a series of nested Tobit and linear spatial panel-data regressions. Our models do not support some consistent predictors of policy liberalization identified by the literature such as immigrant and refugee stocks, democratization, and the number of emigrants, but they offer statistical evidence for the importance of leftist government ideology and regional integration. We then shed light on the causal mechanisms behind these correlations for two extreme but diverse cases: Argentina and Mexico. Based on process tracing and elite interviews, we suggest that the reason that leftist political ideology rather than institutional democratization and number of emigrants matters for policy liberalization is that Latin American executives embarked on symbolic human and migrant’s rights discourses that ultimately enabled legislative change.
Democracy often confronts citizens with a dilemma: stand firm on democracy while losing out on policy or accept undemocratic behavior and gain politically. Existing literature demonstrates that citizens generally choose the latter—and that they do so deliberately. Yet there is an alternative possibility. Citizens can avoid this uncomfortable dilemma altogether by rationalizing their understandings of democracy. When a politician advances undesired policies without violating democratic rules and norms, people find ways to perceive the behavior as undemocratic. When a politician acts undemocratically to promote desired policies, citizens muster up arguments for considering it democratic. Original survey experiments in the United States, and 22 democracies worldwide, provide strong support for this argument. It is thus not deliberate acceptance, but a fundamentally different perceptual logic that drives the widespread approval of undemocratic behavior in today’s democracies.
A growing body of evidence attests that legislators are sometimes responsive to the policy preferences of citizens in single-party regimes, yet debate surrounds the mechanisms driving this relationship. We experimentally test two potential responsiveness mechanisms—elections versus mandates from party leaders—by provisioning delegates to the Vietnamese National Assembly with information on the policy preferences of their constituents and reminding them of either (1) the competitiveness of the upcoming 2021 elections or (2) a central decree that legislative activities should reflect constituents’ preferences. Consistent with existing work, delegates informed of citizens’ preferences are more likely to speak on the parliamentary floor and in closed-session caucuses. Importantly, we find that such responsiveness is entirely driven by election reminders; upward incentive reminders have virtually no effect on behavior.
Democratic theorists have long argued that states can create more resilient democracies through education. Educational investments are thought to produce more economic equality and instill in citizens greater capacity and responsibility to participate in politics. Using a geographic regression discontinuity design and township-level data from Antebellum New York State, we examine whether state funding for common schools led to higher voter turnout as well as higher earnings and lower inequality. Our estimates support the view that a participatory democratic culture emerged not only because of initial favorable endowments but also because of subsequent government decisions to fund education. New York townships that received more school funding later had higher median earnings, lower earnings inequality, and higher levels of voter turnout. Our findings support the view that maintaining democracy requires active investments by the state, something that has important implications for other places and other times—including today.
How does representation by politicians from specific communities influence these communities’ political participation? Analyzing a natural experiment from Mexico in which a party uses lotteries to select candidates for public office, this paper presents new insights into how representation shapes the political participation of underrepresented segments of society. I find that participation in subsequent elections is significantly higher among constituents who have been represented by randomly selected legislators with a similar social background who are part of local organizational networks (embedded representatives). Furthermore, I show that these represented constituents feel more empowered and that the party that provides this “grassroots” representation is rewarded with more support in the subsequent election. The findings highlight the importance of community embeddedness for political mobilization and have important implications for debates about democratic inclusion and representation.
We study the international origins of the neo-welfare state in Britain during the era of globalization before World War I. We introduce a new mechanism linking trade to the expansion of the state. In addition to increasing assessments of the volatility of employment in a market economy, trade shocks changed beliefs about the deservingness of the poor. Employing a shift-share measure of local exposure to German imports, we show that rising imports caused worse labor market outcomes from 1880 to 1910. Import competition led to a decrease in support for the Conservative Party in national elections after 1900, when the Liberal Party supported welfare state reforms. We further show that rising imports increased the use in local newspapers of scientific terms like “unemployment” relative to pejorative terms like “vagrancy” to describe the poor. Political responses to globalization helped shape voter support for the modern British welfare state at its inception.
Research continues to find gender inequality in politics and political communication, but our understanding of the variation in the degree of bias across systems is limited. A recent meta-analysis reveals how, in countries with proportional representation (PR), the media pay considerably more attention to men politicians. In plurality systems, this bias is absent. The present study proposes a new explanation for this finding, emphasizing how the size of electoral districts moderates both the demand for and supply of women politicians in news reporting. Analyzing more than 600,000 news appearances made by Norwegian and British MPs from 2000 to 2016, we produce a detailed picture of gender biases in news visibility that speaks in favor of single-member districts in plurality systems. Although PR is generally recognized as advantageous for the political representation of women, our findings call for a more nuanced understanding of the link between electoral systems and gender equality.
Gender differences in concern about climate change are highly correlated with economic development: when countries are wealthier, a gap emerges whereby women are more likely than men to express concern about our changing climate. These differences stem from cross-national variation in men’s attitudes. Men, more than women, tend to be less concerned about climate change when countries are wealthier. This article develops a new theory about the perceived costs and benefits of climate mitigation policy to explain this pattern. At the country level, the perceived benefits of mitigation tend to decrease with economic development, whereas the perceived costs increase. At the individual level, the perceived costs of mitigation tend to increase with economic development for men more than for women. Evidence from existing surveys from every world region, an original 10-country survey in the Americas and Europe, and focus groups in Peru and the United States support the theory.
Existing research finds that leaders develop international reputations based on their past behavior on the international stage. We argue that leaders’ domestic choices can also influence their international reputations, perhaps as much as their past foreign policy decisions do. Using formal theory and intuitive argumentation, we develop an overarching framework to predict how much any domestic choice will affect a leader’s international reputation. We theorize that certain domestic choices can inform expectations about future international crisis behavior based on the extent to which (1) the costs at stake are similar to those of an international crisis and (2) the domestic issue is salient relative to foreign policy. We use conjoint experiments and other evidence to show that many domestic choices have significant international reputational effects. There is some evidence that the reputational effect of certain domestic choices may equal that of fighting in a previous international crisis.
Histories of political science and of the laws of war identify the nineteenth-century scholar Francis Lieber as their modern founder. His 1863 General Orders 100 codified the modern laws of war, internationalizing his political thought. Yet, relatively unremarked is that Lieber wrote his foundational texts during U.S. settler colonization, which he justified in whole. I argue that GO100 facilitated settler colonial violence by defining modern war as a public war, arrogating it to sovereign states; distinguishing revenge from retaliation, attributing revenge to the “savage”; and elevating a certain racialized/gendered governance, ascribing it to the Cis-Caucasian race. Producing Native peoples and Native wars as lacking in the proper characteristics of sovereign belligerency resulted in a subordination of status and a legitimation of exterminatory tactics that were subsequently universalized and (re)internationalized through GO100’s determinative influence on the laws of war. Tracing GO100 further exposes the founding of the discipline in Native peoples’ dispossession and extermination.
Moderates are often overlooked in contemporary research on American voters. Many scholars who have examined moderates argue that these individuals are only classified as such due to a lack of political sophistication or conflicted views across issues. We develop a method to distinguish three ways an individual might be classified as moderate: having genuinely moderate views across issues, being inattentive to politics or political surveys, or holding views poorly summarized by a single liberal–conservative dimension. We find that a single ideological dimension accurately describes most, but not all, Americans’ policy views. Using the classifications from our model, we demonstrate that moderates and those whose views are not well explained by a single dimension are especially consequential for electoral selection and accountability. These results suggest a need for renewed attention to the middle of the American political spectrum.
Scholars have made important advances in explaining policy drift, uncovering the prevalence of drift in veto-riddled systems, the importance of bureaucratic discretion and statutory ambiguity in combatting drift, and its feedback effects. Despite research demonstrating the potential for judicial action to alleviate drift, we know little about the potential for the Supreme Court to facilitate policy drift. I argue that the Supreme Court may operate as a powerful agent of drift by stripping statutes of ambiguity, foreclosing policy innovation in institutions outside of Congress, and curtailing bureaucratic discretion and authority. To demonstrate these mechanisms, I show how in the case of federal labor law, the Court’s jurisprudence addressing the right to strike, federal preemption, and National Labor Relations Board authority played a central role in gradually undoing the efficacy of The National Labor Relations Act. This inquiry has important implications for understanding public policy, judicial power, the development of American labor law, and American democracy.
Competition among candidates or parties is a necessary condition for democracy. But who counts as a candidate and what counts as competition? The influence of money in American elections makes fundraising an appropriate alternative to vote totals, and it provides a new vantage point to assess the quality of electoral competition. I draw on a dataset of preelection campaign receipts to measure competition in U.S. House primaries from 1980 to 2020. When competition is measured with receipts, it looks markedly worse than vote share measures suggest. Moreover, the difference between vote share and fundraising measures is largest in open-seat primaries, or the best-case scenarios of competition. The disparity between measures is driven largely by candidates who have little chance of winning. The findings shed new light on resource disparities in elections and demonstrate that our conclusions about the quality of competition are tied to our measures.
The claim that workers are subject to structural domination in the labor market is a central contention of the recent radical turn in republican political theory, but it remains undertheorized. Two core components—the claim that workers have “no reasonable alternative” to selling their labor to capitalists and the relevance of exposure to potential interference in such cases—remain unclear. Without a more precise specification of the conditions of structural domination, it is difficult to assess how well republican prescriptions minimize it. I develop a revised defense of the central claim through an analysis of these components. I clarify what it is to have reasonable alternatives in the labor market but show that holding such options is insufficient to avoid structural domination. I argue that the dependence at the heart of structural domination can be constituted multifariously and develop an additional criterion directed at capturing such dependence in production.
Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas (1871) has become a touchstone of democratic theory. Commentators of unusual ideological range uphold the book as politically exemplary. This article demonstrates that recent theoretical celebrations of Democratic Vistas are sanitized and incomplete. I expose the antidemocratic side of Democratic Vistas by analyzing (1) its philosophy of death and (2) its politics of race. Whitman framed his immortalist response to death within an imperialist historical teleology. That teleology entailed violations of Native sovereignty, the political inequality of Black Americans, and the projection of both Black and Native peoples’ evolutionary extinction. Democratic Vistas emerges from this analysis as both necropolitical and white supremacist. If, as Richard Rorty argues, Vistas models a salutary form of reformist “national pride,” then it also illustrates the dangerous susceptibility of such pride to moral innocence and self-deceit.