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A large literature finds that coethnicity primarily shapes voter behavior through material exchanges, particularly clientelism. Yet identity groups provide distinct psychological and social benefits that also compel people to vote based on coethnicity. Does coethnicity matter for vote choice, net of instrumental considerations? We address this question using a conjoint experiment in Lebanon, which asked a nationally representative sample of citizens to choose between potential candidates in national elections. We find that coethnicity is the single strongest predictor of electoral support, more important than party affiliation, provision of clientelism, or programmatic platform. Coethnicity does not significantly alter perceptions of candidates who provide clientelism, including high-value goods like patronage employment. Furthermore, citizens who feel closer to their ethnic group are more likely to vote on the basis of coethnicity, as are those with lower levels of trust in state institutions. Collectively, these findings suggest that coethnic voting in diverse polities is not driven solely by clientelism, but also by less immediately material concerns about security and belonging.
This study explores the impact of repression of foreign protests and the media source reporting the news upon American foreign policy preferences for democracy promotion abroad. We use two survey experiments featuring carefully edited video treatments to show that even short media clips presenting foreign protests as violently repressed increase American support for targeted sanctions against the hostile regime; however, these treatments alone do not inspire respondents to political action. Furthermore, we do not find evidence that mobile treatment magnifies the effects of violence.
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