Alizade, Jeyhun, Rafaela Dancygier, and Jonathan Homola. Structures of Bias: How the State Systematically Downplays Right-Wing Extremism.
The rise of right-wing extremism (RWE) is often attributed to citizens’ economic and cultural grievances. We know less about how the state facilitates RWE in contemporary democracies, despite commonly voiced claims that state actors help RWE flourish due to their biased treatment of political extremism. How valid is this critique? Analyzing thousands of documents covering the behavior of political parties, intelligence agencies, and the police in Germany over many decades and across states, we demonstrate that state actors have systematically downplayed RWE. This bias is not a feature of the state per se; it only emerges consistently among center-right actors. Partisanship thus biases how even presumptively neutral state actors address the far-right extremist threat, a bias that we find exists even in the absence of strategic electoral considerations. Taken together, our research demonstrates that the very state actors charged with fighting extremism are highly influenced by partisanship and ideology.
Dassonneville, Ruth, Nadjim Fréchet, Alexandra Jabbour, Benjamin Ferland, and Jonathan Homola. Are Parties Still Responsive to Public Opinion?
Parties’ ideological responsiveness to public opinion has long been established as a key finding in the party politics literature. However, we do not know whether this pattern is stable over time. Leveraging the longitudinal coverage of public opinion and party position data, we show that findings of left-right ideological responsiveness are limited to a specific time period. We find that since the mid-1990s, left-right shifts in public opinion are no longer significantly associated with party position changes on the same dimension. By examining over-time changes in responsiveness on more specific issue dimensions, we also uncover that at about the same time, a pattern of responsiveness on issues related to nationalism and immigration has emerged. These findings highlight the need to move beyond a focus on a single left-right dimension for studying public opinion and party behavior in current-day electoral democracies.
López Álvarez, Santiago, and Jonathan Homola. More Bullets, More Doves? The Impact of Violence on Political Behavior.
Exposure to violence plays a crucial role in shaping political behavior and preferences in the aftermath of conflicts. Previous studies find that citizens respond in different and often contrasting ways to violence exposure. In some cases, higher degrees of conflict generate more hawkish preferences and higher levels of political participation, while in other instances conflict exposure has the opposite effect. To explain this variation, we propose a two-dimensional framework of analysis that takes into consideration the type and level of an individual’s exposure to violence. We test our two-dimensional framework in the context o f the Colombian armed conflict. Regarding the level of violence, we show that in areas with high levels of conflict, there was more collective support for pacific solutions. In terms of the type of violence, we find that direct victims of the conflict are less likely to support negotiations than non-victims. The theory and results have important implications for researchers and policy-makers alike.
Tavits, Margit, Petra Schleiter, Jonathan Homola, and Dalston Ward. Fathers’ leave increases attitudinal gender equality.
Existing research shows that sexist attitudes are deeply ingrained, with adverse consequences in the socio-economic and political sphere. We argue that parental leave for fathers – a policy reform that disrupts traditional gender roles and promotes less stereotypical social role conceptions – has the power to decrease attitudinal gender bias. Contrasting the attitudes of new parents who were (and were not) directly affected by a real-world policy reform that tripled the amount of fathers’ leave, we provide causal evidence that the reform significantly increased gender-egalitarian views in the socio-economic and political domains among mothers and fathers and raised support for positive action among mothers, but not fathers. In contrast, informational, indirect exposure to the reform among the general public produced no attitudinal change. These results show that direct exposure to progressive social policy has the power to weaken sexist attitudes, providing governments with a practical and effective tool to reduce harmful biases.
Homola, Jonathan. The Political Consequences of Group-Based Identities.
How do group-based identities affect political participation? The existing political science literature mostly understands group identities as something that political actors can choose to strategically emphasize and exploit in an attempt to affect participation. However, I show that making group-based identities salient can have unintended political consequences by also activating group stereotypes. Analyzing an original data set on sex-separated voting in Germany’s Weimar Republic, I argue that the implementation of separate voting heightens the salience of an individual’s gender identity and leads to stronger conformity with respective group norms. This in turn suppresses participation such as turnout, especially in rural areas. The empirical analysis supports these predictions and is robust to a number of model specifications. The findings have implications for studies of social identities, equal participation and the design of electoral institutions.
Homola, Jonathan, and Jeff Gill. A Flexible Class of Bayesian Frailty Models For Political Science Data.
This manuscript reviews basic nonparametric (Cox) survival models and shows how heterogeneous effects on time-to-eventoutcomes can be captured by frailty terms, which are analogous to hierarchies in multilevel models. A derivation and simulations are provided to emphasize that not accounting for frailties when present in the data leads to biased coefficients. We then extend the use of frailty models in political science by adding multiple nested and non-nested hierarchies in a Bayesian context. We also specify group-level covariates, which has not been done with political science data even though data in the discipline frequently have levels of aggregation. We illustrate the strength and flexibility of our model with applications in American Politics, Comparative Politics, and the Women in Politics literature.
Etchevarren Acquarone, Iris, and Jonathan Homola. Closer to You? Candidate Gender and Proximity Voting.
How does candidate gender affect voter preferences under the traditional model of spatial competition? Although prior work shows that voters tend to have biased perceptions of ideological positions and issue expertise when comparing female and male candidates, we do not yet know how these perceptions ultimately influence vote choice in a proximity framework. We argue that voters are confronted with a trade-off involving (i) candidate gender, (ii) ideological distance (proximity considerations), and (iii) policy issues (valence considerations). We disentangle the interplay of these three factors by using a survey experiment and by re-analyzing existing survey experiments which neglected candidate gender as an otherwise unimportant control variable. The results help us better understand the interplay of candidate gender and proximity voting as well as the advantages and disadvantages that female politicians face when running for office. As such, they contribute to a lively literature on gender gaps in voter perceptions as well as voting preferences and vote choice.
Homola, Jonathan, Connor Huff, Yui Nishimura, and Amorae Times. The Gendered Legacies of the US West and Military Enlistment Behavior.
How did the local culture developed in the US West shape the decisions of men and women to enlist in the US military during World War II? We present a theoretical argument highlighting the gendered implications of frontier culture for military enlistment behavior. While the individualistic attitudes developed in the American West are commonly associated with freedom and adventure for men, this same culture had a constraining influence on women. We combine county-level data on World War II enlistment rates with measures of total frontier exposure from Bazzi et al. (2020) to show that women located in places which had more total frontier exposure enlisted in World War II at lower rates. Additional analyses suggest that women located in places with more total frontier exposure had more household responsibilities, less labor force participation, and more children. Our paper documents the gendered implications of local culture for shaping military enlistment behavior.