Homola, Jonathan. 2019. “Are Parties Equally Responsive to Women and Men?” British Journal of Political Science 49: 957-975. [Link]
This article explores (1) whether policy makers are equally responsive to the preferences of women and men and (2) whether the increased presence of women in parliament improves responsiveness to women’s preferences. Using a time-series cross-sectional analysis of 351 party shifts by sixty-eight different parties across twelve Western European countries, the study finds that parties respond to the preference shifts of women and men. However, parties are more responsive to the preference shifts among men than among women - a finding that is not affected by the share of female politicians in parliament. The findings question the implicit assumption that substantive political representation of women necessarily follows from their descriptive representation in legislatures.
Homola, Jonathan, and Margit Tavits. 2018. “Contact Reduces Immigration-Related Fears for Leftist but Not for Rightist Voters.” Comparative Political Studies 51: 1789-1820. [Link]
How does contact with non-natives affect immigration-related fears? While there is strong general support for the argument that intergroup contact decreases intergroup prejudice and fear, previous research arrives at mixed conclusions when applying this argument to the study of natives’ attitudes toward immigration. We show that this is the case because the effect of contact is conditioned by pre-existing partisan affinities. Building on the literature on motivated reasoning, we argue that contact should reduce immigration-related threats among leftist voters, but have a threat-increasing or no effect among rightist voters. We find support for our argument using original surveys conducted in two very different contexts: the U.S. and Germany. Preliminary evidence further suggests that these effects are not driven by partisan rhetoric on immigration, but appear to be the result of differences in the general left-right ideological worldview advocated by different parties.
Boston, Joshua, Jonathan Homola, Betsy Sinclair, Michelle Torres, and Patrick Tucker. 2018. The Dynamic Relationship between Personality Stability and Political Attitudes. Public Opinion Quarterly 82: 257-279. [Link]
Researchers frequently find that personality traits, measured using the Ten Item Personality Inventory (TIPI) battery, affect Americans’ political attitudes and behaviors. Such studies depend on two key assumptions: personality measurements (1) display stability over time and (2) predate political behaviors of interest. In this paper we employ a new set of empirical tests using new panel survey data to test these assumptions. First, we find only very modest variation in TIPI scores over time. Second, however, we show this variability to be associated in certain cases with political and social variables, which raises serious doubts about the nature of personality as a factor that predates both socio-demographic and – more importantly – political variables. We pay particular attention to Openness. While the stability of the TIPI instrument is encouraging, the association between politics and the TIPI instrument suggests that TIPI may vary in response to political events.
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.
What types of fears does immigration trigger in individuals? Prior research explores this question indirectly by linking immigration attitudes to respondents’ demographics or to different threat frames. This research note offers a more direct test by designing a randomized experiment on a nationally representative sample of U.S. citizens. I provide one half of the respondents with neutral information about immigration while the other half serves as the control group. I find that respondents for whom the immigration issue is made salient (i.e., the treatment group) are more fearful of both their personal as well as national economic situation and about crime in their community than respondents in the control group. I further find that the overall effects are mainly driven by those respondents who self-identify as Republicans.
Homola, Jonathan, Jon C. Rogowski, Betsy Sinclair, Michelle Torres, and Patrick Tucker. Through the Ideology of the Beholder: Partisan Perceptions and Polarization Among the Mass Public.
Recent scholarship uses insight from social identity theory to conceptualize partisanship as a social identity rooted in perceptions of partisan groups, but devotes less attention to understanding the causes and consequences of these perceptions. We argue that citizens’ policy beliefs - their operational ideologies - shape their views of partisan groups in the contemporary United States. We report results from two nationally representative studies on the linkages between partisanship, ideology, and polarization. Data from two waves of a panel survey document exaggerated misperceptions of partisan group members and show that these exaggerations are strongly associated with ideological extremity. In a second study, an original survey experiment demonstrates that exaggerated partisan images, though not partisanship itself, significantly increase social polarization. Together, our results provide evidence about how ideological differences at the mass level fuel affective and social polarization.
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.
Homola, Jonathan, Miguel M. Pereira, and Margit Tavits. Legacies of the Third Reich: Concentration Camps and Outgroup Intolerance.
We explore the long-term political consequences of the Third Reich and show that current political intolerance, xenophobia, and voting for radical right-wing parties are associated with proximity to former Nazi concentration camps in Germany. This relationship is not explained by contemporary attitudes, the location of the camps, geographic sorting, the economic impact of the camps, or their current use. We argue that cognitive dissonance led those more directly exposed to Nazi institutions to conform with the belief system of the regime. These attitudes were then transmitted across generations. The evidence provided here contributes both to our understanding of the legacies of historical institutions, and the sources of political intolerance.
Boston, Joshua, Jonathan Homola, Betsy Sinclair, Michelle Torres, and Patrick Tucker. Casualties of the Culture Wars: Lifestyle Differences Between Democrats and Republicans.
Do our basic daily choices – from the comics we enjoy to the sports we play – segregate us into distinct partisan communities? Using answers to almost 300 questions from over 1300 respondents in a United States national probability sample survey on lifestyle choices (ranging from recreational activities to food preferences), we ascertain whether American lifestyles are partitioned by political party. Relying upon a community detection algorithm and latent class analysis, we demonstrate that American lifestyles are divided into two communities and the greatest predictor of membership is partisanship, even when controlling for race, gender, age, income, and education. We find that this clustering with respect to lifestyles dampens political discussion across citizens.
Does the representation of women in cabinet and party leadership positions affect whether governments are more or less likely to fulfill the policy promises they make in during election campaigns? This research note studies the effects of women’s descriptive representation in cabinet and party leadership on policy-making by analyzing the pledge fulfillment of parties in 10 European countries, the US, and Canada. The empirical analysis suggests that governing parties are more likely to fulfill their election promises when levels of women’s representation are higher. The results have implications for our understanding of the descriptive and substantive representation of women, as well as for party competition and policy-making more broadly.