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How does coalition governance shape voters' perceptions of government parties and how does this, in turn, influence party behaviors? Analyzing cross-national panel surveys, election results, experiments, legislative amendments, media reports, and parliamentary speeches, Fortunato finds that coalition compromise can damage parties' reputations for competence as well as their policy brands in the eyes of voters. This incentivizes cabinet partners to take stands against one another throughout the legislative process in order to protect themselves from potential electoral losses. The Cycle of Coalition has broad implications for our understanding of electoral outcomes, partisan choices in campaigns, government formation, and the policy-making process, voters' behaviors at the ballot box, and the overall effectiveness of governance.
We identify a form of gender-based governmental discrimination that directly affects billions of women on a daily basis: the setting of import tariffs for gendered goods. These tax rates, which can differ across otherwise identical gender-specific products, often impose direct penalties on women as consumers. Comparing nearly 200,000 paired tariff rates on men’s and women’s apparel products in 167 countries between 1995 and 2015, we find that women suffer a tax penalty that varies systematically across countries. We demonstrate that in democracies, women’s presence in the legislature is associated with decreased import tax penalties on women’s goods. This finding is buttressed by a comparison of democracies and non-democracies and analyses of the implementation of legislative gender quotas. Our work highlights a previously unacknowledged government policy that penalizes women and also provides powerful evidence that descriptive representation can have a substantial, direct impact on discriminatory policies.
We argue that Americans’ policy attitudes on firearm availability are influenced by the identity of the prospective owner. We use an experiment to demonstrate that attitudes towards gun control/availability are influenced by both race and gender; whether subjects are primed to think of African-Americans versus whites or men versus women has a substantial impact on the degree to which they support firearm access. We find that for many white Americans, Black men and white women stand on opposite poles – priming white Americans with the thought of a Black man decreases support for gun availability, whereas priming the thought of a white woman increases support for gun availability. Further, the magnitude of this effect is quite large – comparable to the difference between Democrats and Republicans. These findings underscore the importance of thinking about the complicated role identity groups play in understanding Americans’ preferences for government (in)action, even in policy areas with explicit Constitutional mandates.
Coalition governance divides policy-making influence across multiple parties, making it challenging for voters to accurately attribute responsibility for outcomes. We argue that many voters overcome this challenge by inferring parties’ policy-making influence using a simple heuristic model that integrates a number of readily available and cheaply obtained informational cues about parties (e.g., their roles in government and legislative seat shares)—while ignoring other cues that, while predictive of real-world influence, are not suitable for heuristic inference (e.g., median party status and bargaining power). Using original data from seven surveys in five countries, we show that voters’ attributions of parties’ policy-making influence are consistent with our proposed inferential strategy. Our findings suggest that while voters certainly have blind spots that cause them to misattribute policy responsibility in some situations, their attributions are generally sensible and consistent with the academic research on multiparty policy making.