Variation in experiences of democratic transition have durable effects on political attitudes. Using survey data from 28 countries that transitioned during the Third Wave (1980-2000), I show these effects cannot be attributed to any secular period effect, survey period effect, birth cohort effect, or country-specific time-invariant characteristics. They are also robust to the inclusion of past experiences of the economy and welfare state, individual controls, and a range of modeling strategies. Using a different source of variation in democratic transitions 2001-2020, I show that transitions cause attitudes and not the other way around. I argue that many failures of democracy in Third Wave countries are caused by the nature of which they originated: distributive transitions produced democratic collective imaginaries irreconcilable with the amount of democratic redistribution that was forthcoming.
How do corruption investigations affect regime support? I argue the answer is conditional on mobilization strategies employed by the regime. Using time-series cross-sectional data from the China General Social Survey (2009-2016), I compare the effect of corruption investigations under Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping on regime attitudes. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, I find that provinces which came more scrutiny from Hu are more trusting and more liberal; these relationships are precisely reversed under Xi. I argue this is caused by the end of Deng-era developmental mobilization and new, Xi-era narratives of mobilization for “common prosperity."
Presented at BU-MIT-Harvard Contemporary Chinese Politics Research Workshop 10/21
Variation in the political ideologies we are exposed to as young people account for a range of between-generation differences in political attitudes. Using cross-national differences in national economic conditions in OECD countries, I estimate the impact of growing up under neoliberal policies on future beliefs about economic justice. Using a "quasi-cohort" fixed effects design, I find that economic growth, unemployment, or levels of redistribution between the ages of 20 and 25 have no effect on respondent beliefs about a just world. However, the ideological context has a significant and lasting effect: those socialized in the "neoliberal era" (1981-2008, i.e., Generation X) are more likely to have optimistic views about income equality, competition, wealth accumulation, and private business. Neoliberal socialization has no effect on confidence in the government or other social values, implying it affects attitudes by incentivizing the adoption of new "scripts of personhood" that center the role of work and merit in determining what is "just."
Presented at Harvard Comparative Politics workshop (3/21)