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Journal Cover American Journal of Political Science
  [SJR: 5.101]   [H-I: 114]   [302 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 0092-5853 - ISSN (Online) 1540-5907
   Published by John Wiley and Sons Homepage  [1592 journals]
  • Political Stability in the Open Society
    • Authors: John Thrasher; Kevin Vallier
      Abstract: We argue that the Rawlsian description of a just liberal society, the well-ordered society, fails to accommodate deep disagreement and is insufficiently dynamic. In response, we formulate an alternative model that we call the open society, organized around a new account of dynamic stability. In the open society, constitutional rules must be stable enough to preserve social conditions that foster experimentation, while leaving room in legal and institutional rules for innovation and change. Systemic robustness and dynamic stability become important for the open society in a way that they are not in the well-ordered society. This model of the open society and the corresponding model of stability have interesting implications for thinking about the goals, norms, and institutions of liberal political systems.
      PubDate: 2018-01-29T13:20:24.088027-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12333
  • The Public Cost of Unilateral Action
    • Authors: Andrew Reeves; Jon C. Rogowski
      Abstract: Scholarship on democratic responsiveness focuses on whether political outcomes reflect public opinion but overlooks attitudes toward how power is used to achieve those policies. We argue that public attitudes toward unilateral action lead to negative evaluations of presidents who exercise unilateral powers and policies achieved through their use. Evidence from two studies supports our argument. In three nationally representative survey experiments conducted across a range of policy domains, we find that the public reacts negatively when policies are achieved through unilateral powers instead of through legislation passed by Congress. We further show these costs are greatest among respondents who support the president's policy goals. In an observational study, we show that attitudes toward unilateral action in the abstract affect how respondents evaluate policies achieved through unilateral action by presidents from Lincoln to Obama. Our results suggest that public opinion may constrain presidents' use of unilateral powers.
      PubDate: 2018-01-24T17:32:07.595822-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12340
  • Leader Influence and Reputation Formation in World Politics
    • Authors: Jonathan Renshon; Allan Dafoe, Paul Huth
      Abstract: The study of reputation is one of the foundational topics of modern international relations. However, fundamental questions remain, including the question of to whom reputations adhere: states, leaders, or both' We offer a theory of influence-specific reputations (ISR) that unifies competing accounts of reputation formation. We theorize that reputations will adhere more to actors who are more influential in the relevant decision-making process. We employ two survey experiments, one abstract and one richly detailed involving a U.S.-Iran conflict, to evaluate ISR. We find evidence of large country-specific reputations and moderately sized leader-specific reputations. Consistent with the theory of influence-specific reputations, leader-specific reputations are more important when leaders are more influential.
      PubDate: 2018-01-24T17:31:38.961943-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12335
  • Defending the Realm: The Appointment of Female Defense Ministers Worldwide
    • Authors: Tiffany D. Barnes; Diana Z. O'Brien
      Abstract: Though the defense ministry has been a bastion of male power, a growing number of states have appointed women to this portfolio. What explains men's dominance over these positions' Which factors predict women's appointments' With comprehensive cross-national data from the post–Cold War era, we develop and test three sets of hypotheses concerning women's access to the defense ministry. We show that women remain excluded when the portfolio's remit reinforces traditional beliefs about the masculinity of the position, particularly in states that are engaged in fatal disputes, governed by military dictators, and large military spenders. By contrast, female defense ministers emerge when expectations about women's role in politics have changed—that is, in states with female chief executives and parliamentarians. Women are also first appointed to the post when its meaning diverges from traditional conceptions of the portfolio, particularly in countries concerned with peacekeeping and in former military states with left-wing governments.
      PubDate: 2018-01-22T11:55:25.35328-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12337
  • The Popularity Costs of Economic Crisis under Electoral Authoritarianism:
           Evidence from Russia
    • Authors: Bryn Rosenfeld
      Abstract: While a large literature recognizes that economic crises threaten the stability of electoral autocracies, we know relatively little about how citizens form economic perceptions and how they attribute blame for worsening conditions in these regimes. To gain traction on these questions, I exploit subnational variation in economic performance across Russia's regions during a recent downturn, combining regionally representative surveys of more than 67,000 voting-age respondents with data on growth and unemployment. Contrary to conventional wisdom that citizens are passive consumers of propaganda, I show that they extract objective economic information from personal experience and local conditions. Moreover, I find that they give greater weight to this information where regional party dominance makes economic performance a clearer indicator of the ruling party's competence and when they believe the media are biased. These results suggest limits on illiberal regimes' ability to exploit informational asymmetries to bolster popular support during economic downturns.
      PubDate: 2018-01-22T05:30:30.833218-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12338
  • Economic Voting in Latin America: Rules and Responsibility
    • Authors: Melody E. Valdini; Michael S. Lewis-Beck
      Abstract: The impact of institutions on the economic vote stands as a well-established proposition for the advanced democracies of Europe. We know less, however, regarding the institutional effects on the economic vote in the developing democracies of Latin America. Carrying out an analysis of presidential elections in 18 Latin American countries, we offer evidence that the usual Eurocentric conceptualization of the clarity of responsibility is not ideal for understanding the economic vote in this region. There does exist a powerful effect of institutions on the economic vote within Latin American democracies, but one uniquely associated with its presidential regimes and dynamic party systems. Rules for these elections—such as concurrence, term limits, and second-round voting—suggest that we should reconceptualize the notion of the clarity of responsibility in Latin America, focusing more on individuals in power and their constraints, and less on the political parties from which they hail.
      PubDate: 2018-01-22T05:30:24.72911-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12339
  • Issue Information - Table of Contents
    • Pages: 1 - 4
      PubDate: 2018-01-30T08:19:29.758166-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12343
  • Learning about Voter Rationality
    • Authors: Scott Ashworth; Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, Amanda Friedenberg
      Abstract: An important empirical literature evaluates whether voters are rational by examining how electoral outcomes respond to events outside the control of politicians, such as natural disasters or economic shocks. The argument is that rational voters should not base electoral decisions on such events, so evidence that these events affect electoral outcomes is evidence of voter irrationality. We show that such events can affect electoral outcomes, even if voters are rational and have instrumental preferences. The reason is that these events change voters' opportunities to learn new information about incumbents. Thus, identifying voter (ir)rationality requires more than just identifying the impact of exogenous shocks on electoral fortunes. Our analysis highlights systematic ways in which electoral fortunes are expected to change in response to events outside incumbents' control. Such results can inform empirical work attempting to identify voter (ir)rationality.
      PubDate: 2017-10-23T07:37:17.289444-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12334
  • Regression Discontinuity Designs Based on Population Thresholds: Pitfalls
           and Solutions
    • Authors: Andrew C. Eggers; Ronny Freier, Veronica Grembi, Tommaso Nannicini
      Abstract: In many countries, important features of municipal government (such as the electoral system, mayors' salaries, and the number of councillors) depend on whether the municipality is above or below arbitrary population thresholds. Several papers have used a regression discontinuity design (RDD) to measure the effects of these threshold-based policies on political and economic outcomes. Using evidence from France, Germany, and Italy, we highlight two common pitfalls that arise in exploiting population-based policies (compound treatment and sorting), and we provide guidance for detecting and addressing these pitfalls. Even when these problems are present, population-threshold RDD may be the best available research design for studying the effects of certain policies and political institutions.
      PubDate: 2017-09-22T07:55:32.602467-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12332
  • How the Public Defines Terrorism
    • Authors: Connor Huff; Joshua D. Kertzer
      Abstract: Every time a major violent act takes place in the United States, a public debate erupts as to whether it should be considered terrorism. Political scientists have offered a variety of conceptual frameworks, but have neglected to explore how ordinary citizens understand terrorism, despite the central role the public plays in our understanding of the relationship between terrorism and government action in the wake of violence. We synthesize components of both scholarly definitions and public debates to formulate predictions for how various attributes of incidents affect the likelihood they are perceived as terrorism. Combining a conjoint experiment with machine learning techniques and automated content analysis of media coverage, we show the importance not only of the type and severity of violence, but also the attributed motivation for the incident and social categorization of the actor. The findings demonstrate how the language used to describe violent incidents, for which the media has considerable latitude, affects the likelihood the public classifies incidents as terrorism.
      PubDate: 2017-09-12T08:00:39.451989-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12329
  • Disloyal Brokers and Weak Parties
    • Authors: Lucas M. Novaes
      Abstract: This article shows that the disloyalty of political brokers causes party fragility. Lacking distinctive brands, organization, and activists to mobilize individuals, parties “hire” local notables to broker votes among a local, nonpartisan constituency. However, brokers may be unreliable agents, regularly changing political allegiances in search of better returns for their brokerage among the module of voters they control. This free agency from brokers hinders durable party–voter linkages and results in electorally vulnerable parties. Measuring how brokers influence parties is empirically complex, but taking advantage of the fact that in Brazil these agents are also local candidates, this article demonstrates the negative electoral consequences of brokers' free agency on party performance. Natural experiments and an unexpected, temporary institutional reform that discouraged disloyalty for brokers demonstrate this relationship.
      PubDate: 2017-09-04T07:22:30.909864-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12331
  • The Economic Consequences of Partisanship in a Polarized Era
    • Authors: Christopher McConnell; Yotam Margalit, Neil Malhotra, Matthew Levendusky
      Abstract: With growing affective polarization in the United States, partisanship is increasingly an impediment to cooperation in political settings. But does partisanship also affect behavior in nonpolitical settings' We show evidence that it does, demonstrating its effect on economic outcomes across a range of experiments in real-world environments. A field experiment in an online labor market indicates that workers request systematically lower reservation wages when the employer shares their political stance, reflecting a preference to work for co-partisans. We conduct two field experiments with consumers and find a preference for dealing with co-partisans, especially among those with strong partisan attachments. Finally, via a population-based, incentivized survey experiment, we find that the influence of political considerations on economic choices extends also to weaker partisans. Whereas earlier studies show the political consequences of polarization in American politics, our findings suggest that partisanship spills over beyond the political, shaping cooperation in everyday economic behavior.
      PubDate: 2017-08-31T05:50:33.363932-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12330
  • Elite Influence' Religion and the Electoral Success of the Nazis
    • Authors: Jörg L. Spenkuch; Philipp Tillmann
      Abstract: In Weimar Germany, the Catholic Church vehemently warned ordinary parishioners about the dangers of extremist parties. We establish that constituencies' religious composition is a key empirical predictor of Nazi vote shares—dwarfing the explanatory power of any other demographic or socioeconomic variable. Even after carefully accounting for observational differences, Catholics were far less likely to vote for the NSDAP than their Protestant counterparts. The evidence suggests that this disparity was, in large part, due to the sway of the Catholic Church and its dignitaries. At the same time, we show that attempts to immunize Catholics against the radical left failed to achieve the desired result. To explain the puzzling asymmetry in the Church's influence at the ballot box, we develop a simple theoretical framework of elite influence in electoral politics.
      PubDate: 2017-08-10T09:26:20.059597-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12328
  • No Need to Watch: How the Effects of Partisan Media Can Spread via
           Interpersonal Discussions
    • Authors: James N. Druckman; Matthew S. Levendusky, Audrey McLain
      Abstract: To what extent do partisan media sources shape public opinion' On its face, it would appear that the impact of partisan media is limited, given that it attracts a relatively small audience. We argue, however, that its influence may extend beyond its direct audience via a two-step communication flow. Specifically, those who watch and are impacted by partisan media outlets talk to and persuade others who did not watch. We present experimental results that demonstrate this process. We therefore show that previous studies may have significantly underestimated the effect of these outlets. We also illustrate that how the two-step communication flow works is contingent upon the precise composition of the discussion group (e.g., is it consistent of all fellow partisans or a mix of partisans'). We conclude by highlighting what our results imply about the study of media, preference formation, and partisan polarization.
      PubDate: 2017-08-08T08:01:04.273946-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12325
  • Making Washington Work: Legislative Entrepreneurship and the Personal Vote
           from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression
    • Authors: Charles J. Finocchiaro; Scott A. MacKenzie
      Abstract: Studies of bill sponsorship in the modern Congress highlight the effects of constituency characteristics, seniority, and committee membership. These studies, however, are limited in their ability to assess the effects of institutions. We provide the first systematic study of bill sponsorship in the premodern House of Representatives. In doing so, we take advantage of this period's expansive legislative agenda and variation in electoral system rules. Using matching and event count models, we estimate the effects of institutions, electoral competition, and members’ institutional positions and political experiences on their sponsorship of different types of bills. We find that two reforms—the Australian ballot and nominating primary—increased sponsorship of bills designed to cultivate personal votes, thereby contributing to the growth in private legislation and bills aimed at local constituencies. Our results establish these reforms as a major event shaping lawmaking activity and, with it, the character of contemporary representation.
      PubDate: 2017-08-01T11:10:56.208535-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12326
  • How Do Interest Groups Seek Access to Committees'
    • Authors: Alexander Fouirnaies; Andrew B. Hall
      Abstract: Concerns that interest groups use their financial resources to distort the democratic process are long-standing. Surprisingly, though, firms spend little money on political campaigns, and roughly 95% of publicly traded firms in the United States have never contributed to a political campaign. Do interest groups seek political access through their modest contributions, or are these contributions only a minor and forgettable part of the political process' In this article, we present comprehensive evidence that interest groups are extremely sophisticated in the way they make campaign contributions. We collect a new data set on U.S. state legislative committee assignments and legislator procedural powers from 1988 to 2014, merged with campaign finance data, in order to analyze over 440,000 candidate–committee observations across 99 legislatures. Using a series of difference-in-differences designs based on changes in individual legislators' positions in the legislature, we not only show that interest groups seek out committee members, but we also show that they value what we call indirect access. When a legislator gains procedural powers, interest groups reallocate considerable amounts of money to her. The results reveal how interest groups in a wide range of democratic settings seek to influence the policy process not only by seeking direct access to policy makers but by seeking indirect access to legislative procedure as well.
      PubDate: 2017-07-31T06:20:38.217953-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12323
  • When Are Agenda Setters Valuable'
    • Authors: Alexander Fouirnaies
      Abstract: Why do industries donate money to legislative campaigns when roll-call votes suggest that donors gain nothing in return' I argue that corporate donors may shape policy outcomes by influencing powerful agenda setters in the early stages of lawmaking. On the basis of a new data set of more than 45,000 individual state legislator sessions (1988–2012), I document how agenda control is deemed valuable to legislators and groups seeking influence on policy. Employing a difference-in-differences design, I assess the revealed price, as measured by campaign contributions, that firms are willing to pay for access to committee and party leaders and document how this price varies across industries and institutions. The results indicate that industries systematically funnel money to the legislative agenda setters by whom they are regulated, and to those endowed with important procedural powers. I document that the value of agenda-setter positions has increased dramatically in recent years. Finally, exploiting changes in state laws, I show that relaxing contribution limits significantly benefits committee chairs and party leaders more so than it does other legislators, suggesting that agenda setters have strong incentives to obstruct restrictive campaign finance reforms.
      PubDate: 2017-07-26T11:50:37.537207-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12316
  • The Election Monitor's Curse
    • Authors: Zhaotian Luo; Arturas Rozenas
      Abstract: Election monitoring has become a key instrument of democracy promotion. Election monitors routinely expect to deter fraud and prevent post-election violence, but in reality, post-election violence often increases when monitors do expose fraud. We argue that monitors can make all elections less fraudulent and more peaceful on average, but only by causing more violence in fraudulent elections. Due to this curse, strategic election monitors can make a positive impact on elections only if their objectives are aligned in a very specific fashion. Monitors who do not aim to prevent violence can be effective only if they are unbiased, whereas monitors who do aim to prevent violence can be effective only if they are moderately biased against the government. Consequently, election monitors with misaligned objectives will fail to prevent violence, whereas monitors with well-aligned objectives will be blamed for causing violence.
      PubDate: 2017-07-25T06:14:32.828919-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12320
  • Have Your Cake and Eat It Too' Cointegration and Dynamic Inference
           from Autoregressive Distributed Lag Models
    • Authors: Andrew Q. Philips
      Abstract: Although recent articles have stressed the importance of testing for unit roots and cointegration in time-series analysis, practitioners have been left without a straightforward procedure to implement this advice. I propose using the autoregressive distributed lag model and bounds cointegration test as an approach to dealing with some of the most commonly encountered issues in time-series analysis. Through Monte Carlo experiments, I show that this procedure performs better than existing cointegration tests under a variety of situations. I illustrate how to implement this strategy with two step-by-step replication examples. To further aid users, I have designed software programs in order to test and dynamically model the results from this approach.
      PubDate: 2017-07-25T06:05:57.956706-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12318
  • Injustice Abroad, Authority at Home' Democracy, Systemic Effects, and
           Global Wrongs
    • Authors: Shmuel Nili
      Abstract: Multiple normative theorists currently link political authority to democratic political procedures. I explore how proponents of this influential view can address a fundamental, but overlooked, puzzle. The puzzle begins from the firm judgment that even a government that keeps democratic procedures intact loses its general authority if it enacts abhorrent major laws. This judgment means that the moral failure of some laws can dissolve the moral authority of other laws—even ones that are quite distinct in their content. But how can we explain these systemic effects of specific laws' I confront this challenge by introducing a global perspective into the discussion of political authority. First, I suggest that we should only adopt an account of systemic effects that can explain how the worst global conduct dissolves a government's general authority. Second, after developing such an account, I use it to reflect on thornier global cases.
      PubDate: 2017-07-21T11:35:33.716659-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12321
  • Reconsidering the Role of Politics in Leaving Religion: The Importance of
    • Authors: Paul A. Djupe; Jacob R. Neiheisel, Anand E. Sokhey
      Abstract: Studies have pointed to politics as an important force driving people away from religion—the argument is that the dogmatic politics of the Christian Right have alienated liberals and moderates, effectively threatening organized religion in America. We argue that existing explanations are incomplete; a proper reconsideration necessitates distinguishing processes of affiliation (with specific congregations) from identification (with religious traditions). Using three data sets, we find evidence that qualifies and complements existing narratives of religious exit. Evaluations of congregational political fit drive retention decisions. At the same time, opposition to the Christian Right only bears on retention decisions when it is salient in a congregational context, affecting primarily evangelicals and Republicans. These results help us understand the dynamics of the oft-observed relationship between the Christian Right and deidentification and urge us to adopt a broader, more pluralistic view of the politicization of American religion.
      PubDate: 2017-05-11T11:05:45.40789-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12308
  • Paths of Recruitment: Rational Social Prospecting in Petition Canvassing
    • Authors: Clayton Nall; Benjamin Schneer, Daniel Carpenter
      Abstract: Petition canvassers are political recruiters. Building upon the rational prospector model, we theorize that rational recruiting strategies are dynamic (Bayesian and time-conscious), spatial (constrained by geography), and social (conditioned on relations between canvasser and prospect). Our theory predicts that canvassers will exhibit homophily in their canvassing preferences and will alternate between “door-to-door” and “attractor” (working in a central location) strategies based upon systematic geographical variation. They will adjust their strategies midstream (mid-petition) based upon experience. Introducing methods to analyze canvassing data, we test these hypotheses on geocoded signatory lists from two petition drives—a 2005–6 anti–Iraq War initiative in Wisconsin and an 1839 antislavery campaign in New York City. Canvassers in these campaigns exhibited homophily to the point of following geographically and politically “inefficient” paths. In the aggregate, these patterns may exacerbate political inequality, limiting political involvement of the poorer and less educated.
      PubDate: 2017-04-21T06:22:08.408511-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ajps.12305
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