"Working-Class Legislators and Perceptions of Representation in Latin America." Political Research Quarterly, Forthcoming (with Tiffany D. Barnes).
Abstract: How does the near-exclusion of working-class citizens from legislatures affect citizens’ perceptions of representation? We argue that when groups of people are continually denied access to representation, citizens are less likely to believe that their interests are represented by the legislature. By contrast, more inclusive institutions that incorporate members of the working class foster support for representative bodies. Using a multilevel analysis of 18 Latin American countries—a region plagued by disapproval of and disenchantment with representation—we find that greater inclusion of the working class is associated with better evaluations of legislative performance. These findings have important implications for strengthening democracy in Latin America, as they indicate that more diverse political institutions may be key to deepening citizens’ attachments to representative bodies.
Abstract: Recent studies have shown a clear link between women in government and reduced concerns about corruption. Until now, it has remained unclear what underlying attitudes about women explain the perception that they will reduce corruption. Using a survey question about adding women to a police force, with an embedded experimental treatment, we examine three distinct stereotypes that might explain the power of women to reduce concerns about corruption: gender stereotypes of women as more ethical and honest; the perception of women as political outsiders; and beliefs that women are generally more risk-averse. We find that people do perceive women as more effective at combating corruption, and these perceptions are greatly enhanced when information about women’s outsider status and risk aversion is provided.
Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that voters rarely punish politicians for involvement in sex scandals. Yet, we argue that some voters are likely to hold politicians accountable for their moral transgressions. We theorize that both hostile and benevolent sexists are more likely than non-sexists to punish women for involvement in a sex scandal—but each for different reasons. We posit that women politicians involved in sex scandals activate traditional gender norms and challenge men’s dominant position in society, thus provoking hostile sexists to punish female politicians more severely than men. Benevolent sexists are likely to punish women who fail to comply with stereotypical expectations of being pure and moral, and the men who fail to safeguard those virtues. To test our theory, we rely on a survey experiment that manipulates politician sex and scandal type. We find strong support for our expectations, indicating that sexism continues to structure evaluations of female politicians and shapes voter reactions to political scandals.
"Governance Quality, Fairness Perceptions, and Satisfaction with Democracy in Latin America" (Invited for Revise and Resubmit)
Best paper by a graduate student in Political Science, Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists (2016)
S. Sidney & Margaret Ulmer Award for Best Graduate Student Paper (2016)
Abstract: How do individuals’ fairness judgments affect support for the political system? I argue that when citizens perceive high levels of distributive unfairness in society, they will be less satisfied with the way democracy functions. Yet, good governance – i.e., impartiality in the exercise of political authority – should mitigate the negative influence of perceived distributive unfairness on satisfaction. Using a cross-national analysis of 18 Latin American countries from 2011 to 2015, I demonstrate individuals are significantly less satisfied with democracy when they perceive their country’s income distribution as unfair. Yet, good governance – as indicated by a country’s level of corruption – significantly offsets this negative relationship, even in a region with the highest level of inequality in the world. These findings imply that policymakers can bolster democratic satisfaction, even in places where citizens perceive the income distribution as fundamentally unfair, by committing to good governance and fair democratic procedures.