This article argues that public opinion regarding the legitimacy of income differences is influenced by actual income inequality. When income differences are perceived to be high, the public thinks of larger income inequality as legitimate. The phenomenon is explained by the system justification motivation and other psychological processes that favor existing social arrangements. Three experiments show that personal experiences of inequality as well as information regarding national-level income inequality can affect which income differences are thought of as legitimate. A fourth experiment shows that the system justification motivation is a cause of this effect. These results can provide an empirical basis for future studies to assume that the public reacts to inequality with adapted expectations, not increased demands for redistribution.
While there is broad consensus that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) sometimes succeed in influencing policy making within international organizations (IOs), there is much less agreement on the factors that make NGO lobbying effective. This article makes two contributions to this debate. First, the determinants of influence among NGOs active in different IOs, issue areas and policy phases are examined. The analysis builds on original survey data of more than 400 NGOs involved in five different IOs, complemented by elite interviews with IO and state officials. Secondly, the article advances a specific argument about how the strategic exchange of information and access between NGOs and IOs increases NGO influence in IOs. This argument, derived from theories of lobbying in American and European politics, is contrasted with three alternative explanations of NGO influence, privileging material resources, transnational networks and public opinion mobilization, and the broader implications of these results for research on NGOs in global governance are explored.
United Nations (UN) peacekeepers tend to be deployed to hard-to-resolve' civil wars. Much less is known about where peacekeepers are deployed within a country. However, to assess peacekeepers' contribution to peace, it matters whether they are deployed to conflict or relatively safe areas. This article examines subnational UN peacekeeping deployment, contrasting an instrumental' logic of deployment versus a logic of convenience'. These logics are evaluated using geographically and temporally disaggregated data on UN peacekeepers' deployment in eight African countries between 1989 and 2006. The analysis demonstrates that peacekeepers are deployed on the frontline: they go where conflict occurs, but there is a notable delay in their deployment. Furthermore, peacekeepers tend to be deployed near major urban areas.
While previous research on the reciprocal effects of citizens' issue attitudes and their party support emphasize citizens' issue positions, political competition revolves equally around issue salience - that is, debates over which issue areas political parties should prioritize. Using multi-wave panel survey data from Germany and Great Britain, this study analyzes the reciprocal effects of citizens' issue salience and their party support, and concludes that citizens' issue priorities both influence and are influenced by their party attachments and, moreover, that these effects are linked to parties' long-term associative issue ownership. This effect is strongest among supporters of a small issue-orientated niche party, the German Greens.
Amid growing evidence of unequal democracy' in the United States, labor unions can play a potentially important role by ensuring that low-income citizens' opinions receive more equal consideration when elected officials make policy decisions. To investigate this possibility, this article evaluates the relationship between labor union strength and representational equality across states and finds evidence that states with higher levels of union membership weigh citizens' opinions more equally in the policy-making process. In contrast, there is no relationship between the volume of labor union contributions to political campaigns in a state and the equality of its political representation. These findings suggest that labor unions promote greater political equality primarily by mobilizing their working-class members to political action and, more broadly, underscore the important role that organized labor continues to play in shaping the distribution of political power across American society.
Compulsory voting is often linked to pro-democracy orientations in the public. However, there is reason to question the strength and universality of this link. Engaging research on the effects of coercion and punishment, this article argues that forced participation inflates the tendency of those with negative orientations towards democracy to see the democratic system as illegitimate, and to be dissatisfied with democracy. The study finds support for these expectations in analyses of three separate cross-national surveys and a natural experiment. Compulsory voting heightens dissatisfaction with democracy within key segments of the population.
Radical Right Parties (RRPs) consistently attract more male than female voters. Puzzlingly, there is no equally consistent gender difference in policy preferences on the main issues of these parties - immigration and minority integration policies. Indeed, in some countries, for instance the UK, women have as restrictive immigration policy preferences as men, but are still less likely to vote for RRPs. This article proposes a novel answer to this gender gap puzzle that emphasizes the normative conflicts about prejudice and discrimination that surround RRPs across Europe. It uses representative survey data to show, for the first time, that women are more likely than men to be motivated to control prejudice, and that this difference in motivations has political consequences. More specifically, the study demonstrates that the higher prevalence of internal motivation to control prejudice among women accounts for the gender gap in voting for RRPs that become trapped in conflicts over discrimination and prejudice. Voting patterns for RPPs that have been able to defuse normative concerns about prejudice, such as the Progress Party currently in government in Norway, are different.
This article presents an examination of class-based inequalities in turnout at British elections. These inequalities have substantially grown, and the class divide in participation has become greater than the class divide in vote choice between the two main parties. To account for class inequalities in turnout three main hypotheses - to do with policy indifference, policy alienation and social alienation - are tested. The results from the British context suggest that the social background of political representatives influences the ways in which voters participate in the political process, and that the decline in proportion of elected representatives from working-class backgrounds is strongly associated with the rise of working-class abstention.
This article investigates the deliberative abilities of ordinary citizens in the context of EuroPolis', a transnational deliberative poll. Drawing upon a philosophically grounded instrument, an updated version of the Discourse Quality Index (DQI), it explores how capable European citizens are of meeting deliberative ideals; whether socio-economic, cultural and psychological biases affect the ability to deliberate; and whether opinion change results from the exchange of arguments. On the positive side, EuroPolis shows that the ideal deliberator scoring high on all deliberative standards does actually exist, and that participants change their opinions more often when rational justification is used in the discussions. On the negative side, deliberative abilities are unequally distributed: in particular, working-class members are less likely to contribute to a high standard of deliberation.
Previous research shows that the household context is a crucial source of influence on turnout. This article sets out a relational theory of voting in which turnout is dependent on the existence of relational selective consumption benefits. The study provides empirical tests of key elements of the proposed model using household survey data from Great Britain. First, building on expressive theories of voting, it examines the extent to which shared partisan identification enhances turnout. Secondly, extending theories of voting as a social norm, it tests whether the civic norms of citizens' families or households affect turnout over and above the social norms of the individual. In accordance with expectations of expressive theories of voting, it finds that having a shared party identification with other members of the household increases turnout. It also finds that the civic duty of other household members is important in explaining turnout, even when allowing for respondent's civic duty.
Policies designed to increase women's representation in Africa are often motivated by the assumption that men and women have different policy preferences. This article finds that gender differences in policy priorities are actually quite small on average, but vary significantly across policy domains and countries. The study leverages this variation to show that the economic and social empowerment of women influences the size of gender gaps in the prioritization of two important domains. In particular, women's participation in the labor force - an indicator of economic empowerment - narrows the gender gap in the prioritization of infrastructure investment and access to clean water, while social vulnerability widens the gap on prioritizing infrastructure investment. Finally, the article shows that the places where women and men have the most divergent policy preferences - and thus where formal representation is most important - are precisely the places where women are currently the most poorly represented and least active in formal politics.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, an important pair of studies established that greater female representation in government is associated with lower levels of perceived corruption in that government. But recent research finds that this relationship is not universal and questions why it exists. This article presents a new theory explaining why women's representation is only sometimes related to lower corruption levels and provides evidence in support of that theory. The study finds that the women's representation-corruption link is strongest when the risk of corruption being detected and punished by voters is high - in other words, when officials can be held electorally accountable. Two primary mechanisms underlie this theory: prior evidence shows that (1) women are more risk-averse than men and (2) voters hold women to a higher standard at the polls. This suggests that gender differences in corrupt behavior are proportional to the strength of electoral accountability. Consequently, the hypotheses predict that the empirical relationship between greater women's representation and lower perceived corruption will be strongest in democracies with high electoral accountability, specifically: (1) where corruption is not the norm, (2) where press freedom is respected, (3) in parliamentary systems and (4) under personalistic electoral rules. The article presents observational evidence that electoral accountability moderates the link between women's representation and corruption in a time-series, cross-sectional dataset of seventy-six democratic-leaning countries.
Theories of deliberation, developed largely in the context of domestic politics, are becoming increasingly relevant for international politics. The recently established Universal Periodic Review (UPR) operating under the auspices of the UN's Human Rights Council is an excellent illustration. Our analysis of responses to its reports and recommendations suggests that the deliberative processes surrounding the UPR do indeed evoke co-operative responses even from countries with poor human rights records. Its highly inclusive, deliberative, repeated-play and peer-to-peer nature can serve as a model for how international organizations more generally can enhance deliberative capacity across the international system.
Researchers have puzzled over the finding that countries that ratify UN human rights treaties such as the Convention Against Torture are more likely to abuse human rights than non-ratifiers over time. This article presents evidence that the changing standard of accountability - the set of expectations that monitoring agencies use to hold states responsible for repressive actions - conceals real improvements to the level of respect for human rights in data derived from monitoring reports. Using a novel dataset that accounts for systematic changes to human rights reports, it is demonstrated that the ratification of human rights treaties is associated with higher levels of respect for human rights. This positive relationship is robust to a variety of measurement strategies and model specifications.