While the positive effect of education on political tolerance is well known, we understand far less about the impact of individual political tolerance in different contexts. Utilizing multilevel statistical techniques, we have discovered a strong interactive effect indicating that education at the individual level has a much greater effect on political tolerance in wealthier countries as compared to poorer countries. Yet, we find that when educational expenditures as a percentage of national wealth are high, the negative impact of national poverty on political tolerance is mitigated. The results suggest that greater years of schooling alone, without an improvement in the quality of education, is insufficient for promoting politically tolerant attitudes. The study uses data from 26 countries included in the 2014 AmericasBarometer surveys, supplemented by contextual indicators from the World Bank, UNDP and Freedom House.
Is there a relationship between crime victimization and civilian firearm possession? We posit that because crime victimization produces heightened fear of crime and the perception that government is ineffective as the provider of public safety, it motivates individuals to seek private measures for protection, including the possession of a firearm. Using propensity score matching on survey data from the AmericasBarometer 2012 and 2014 rounds, we find that crime victimization, particularly more violent types of crime, leads individuals to be more acceptant of getting a firearm for protection in 23 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, and to actually possess one in three capitals of the Caribbean.
Towards an Armed Citizenry? The Effect of Crime Victimization on Firearm Possession in Latin America and the Caribbean (with J. Camilo Plata) [paper] [appendix] [code]
Being a crime victim increases the probability of willingness to have a firearm by 7% or more in all twenty-three countries
Education, the Wealth of Nations, and Political Tolerance:
A Multilevel Analysis of 26 Countries in the Americas
(with Mitchell Seligson and Daniel Moreno) [paper] [appendix] [data] [code]
The change in political tolerance associated with completing post-secondary education is larger in wealthier countries
Amid Brazil’s Protests, a Troubling Surge in Support for Military Intervention
AmericasBarometer Topical Brief, March 23 2015. [english] [español] [português]
Media Coverage: [LeMonde] [Estadão1] [Estadão2] [Estadão3] [IG] [Vanderbilt] [Observatoria da Imprensa]
Amid Brazil’s Crises, Low Levels of Respect for Political Institutions
AmericasBarometer Topical Brief, April 1 2016. [english] [español] [português]
Media Coverage: [Folha] [OGlobo] [Terra] [Vanderbilt]
The number of mayoral candidates is negatively associated with electoral turnout, after controlling for a series of campaign-level factors.
Fragmentation of Party Systems and Political Efficacy:
The Effect of Complexity of Politics on Citizens’ Perception
More electoral choices has long been assumed to produce higher turnout. I contradict this relationship and argue that because of the cognitive costs associated with more options, an increase in the number of candidates on turnout decreases, on average, the political efficacy of voters and consequently aggregate levels of electoral turnout. Using data on mayoral elections from Brazil and Colombia, I find that as the number of choices increases, electoral participation decreases after controlling for a series of campaign-level factors. Moreover, the electoral data from Brazil enables a test of which mechanism decrease turnout: coalition formation, as proposed by Robert Jackman, or cognitive demand from voters. I find that in the case of Brazilian municipal elections, while the size of coalitions matter, it only explains a small share of the variation. Finally, I test the effect of the number of candidates on political efficacy with survey data from the AmericasBarometer Brazil 2014, and find that in municipalities with multiple candidates, individuals have lower self-efficacy.
Most scholars of parties suggest that more political parties increase individuals' belief in their ability to understand and effectively participate in politics. On the other hand, behavior scholars point toward evidence that more parties could further complicate politics for citizens and thus lower their capacities to understand and participate in politics. This paper contributes to this debate by assessing the impact the effective number of parties and degree of party system institutionalization have on individual political efficacy in Latin America with data from the AmericasBarometer and LatinoBarometro, and Europe with data from the European Voter project. The results suggest that as political contexts increase the amount of information and cognitive efforts required from citizens to comprehend the political system, the perceptions of their own capacity to understand and participate in politics weaken. Furthermore, this result is particularly strong for individuals who do not have strong political preferences and with low levels of education.
Grievances and Protest: How Political Networks Condition
the Effect of Relative Deprivation on Protest Behavior
Relative deprivation theory suggests that grievances lead individuals to participate in contentious politics. I challenge this claim by arguing that deprivation alone does not increase individuals’ propensity of participating in protests. Instead, I posit that involvement with political networks moderates the effect of deprivation on the decision to partake in public demonstrations. That is, while deprivation may not lead to protest participation for most individuals, it significantly increases the likelihood for those who are involved with political organizations. I develop my theory on the role of group involvement using data from in-depth interviews I conducted with protests participants and movement leaders in July of 2013 in Argentina, and provide a test of the interaction effect with an analysis of survey data from the AmericasBarometer 2010.
The probability of economically deprived individuals protesting significantly increases if they attend political meetings, especially if they have common characteristics of protesters.