Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy Archive 2022
About the workshops
Interdisciplinary Workshops on Politics and Policy are weekly seminars hosted by the Center for Political Studies. Speakers present current research on a wide range of topics. Abstracts of past workshops are available in the menu to the right.
Presenting Jordan: Geographies of Power and Dissent
Sept. 21, 2022 | Noon to 1 PM EDT
Jillian Schwedler (Hunter College)
Protest has been a key method of political claim-making in Jordan from the late Ottoman period to the present day. More than moments of rupture within normal-time politics, protests have been central to challenging state power, as well as reproducing it—and the spatial dynamics of protests play a central role in the construction of both state and society. In this talk based on her new book, Protesting Jordan: Geographies of Power and Dissent (Stanford University Press, 2022), Jillian Schwedler considers how space and geography influence protests and repression, and, in challenging conventional narratives of Hashemite state-making, offers the first in-depth study of rebellion in Jordan.
Based on twenty-five years of field research, Protesting Jordan examines protests as they are situated in the built environment, bringing together considerations of networks, spatial imaginaries, space and place-making, and political geographies at local, national, regional, and global scales. Schwedler considers the impact of time and temporality in the lifecycles of individual movements. Through a mixed interpretive methodology, this book illuminates the geographies of power and dissent and the spatial practices of protest and repression, highlighting the political stakes of competing narratives about Jordan’s past, present, and future.
The Motivations behind Congressional Endorsements in Presidential Primaries
Sept. 28, 2022 | Noon to 1 PM EDT
Jade Burt (University of Michigan)
While the impact of presidential primary endorsements on recipients has been explored, the reasons underlying them remain poorly understood. This paper considers three motivations that capture the motivations of most congressional endorsers: aiding their own reelection, advancing their career, and influencing who wins the nomination. In describing these motivations, I derive testable claims from competing candidate-centric and activist centric theories of party behavior and show that each theory explains endorsement behavior at different points in the primary process and among different groups of endorsers.
In keeping with activist-centric behavioral theories, the earliest endorsements are targeted at intense policy demanders and favor ideologically proximate candidates. However, as the primary progresses, endorsements become less ideological and more geared towards helping the endorser win reelection, in keeping with candidate-centric theories. Progressive career ambition increases the likelihood of some home state endorsements. However, its absence among those whose career ambition has been realized makes them less likely to endorse.
Party Polarization and its Impact on Public Health Preparedness and Responsiveness to Disease Outbreaks
October 5, 2022 | Noon to 1:00 PM EDT
Michael Minta (University of Minnesota)
In 2020, the slow and uneven federal response to the coronavirus surprised many observers because multiple sources, including the Global Health Security Index, ranked the United States as the most prepared nation in the world to deal with public health emergencies. Congressional Democrats blamed the Trump administration for not properly preparing and responding to COVID-19 while the Trump administration and congressional Republicans blamed Democrats and the previous Obama administration for not adequately preparing the US for a public health crisis. Would the partisan disagreement affect the ability of the federal government to properly respond to major disease outbreaks? The political science literature offers conflicting expectations with some scholars arguing that party polarization limits the ability of government to pass legislation while other scholars find that government’s ability to pass legislation does not diminish because of party polarization. To resolve this dilemma in the literature, we examine to what extent, if any, does polarization affect the likelihood of public health bills becoming law. Using public health bills introduced from the 80th to 114th Congress, we find that polarization hinders the ability of Congress to pass public health legislation. Even though the bill passage rate for public health bills is not any different than it was when Congress was less polarized, polarization impacts the ability of public health legislation to pass the House or the Senate, thus, impacting the quality of legislation that is introduced.
How to Build Bipartisan Trust in Fact-Checking Sites
October 12, 2022 | Noon to 1:00 PM EDT
Hwayong Shin (University of Michigan)
Unlike conventional journalism that achieves objectivity by giving “equal weights” to both sides of the debate, fact-checking takes a more interpretive and “weights of evidence” approach. One challenge is that the way fact-checking pursues objectivity allows for asymmetric coverage that covers one political party more heavily than the other. These imbalances may reflect genuine asymmetries in the prevalence of misinformation, but can also undermine trust among partisans. Findings from a preregistered experiment indicate that, compared to symmetric coverage, uncongenial asymmetry (most articles challenge in-group) leads partisans to find a source less credible. Contrary to conventional belief, Democrats react more negatively to uncongenial asymmetry than Republicans. Congenial asymmetry (most articles challenge out-group) also causes partisans to perceive the source as less credible, especially when a portion of coverage challenges their own party on polarized topics. These findings suggest more symmetric coverage of political parties can foster more bipartisan trust in fact checking.
Neighborhood Policing Presence: How 911-Call Locations Affect Officer-Initiated Surveillance and Enforcement Acts
Oct. 19, 2022 | Noon to 1:00 PM EDT
Marty Davidson (University of Michigan)
What effect does demand for policing presence, as proxied by 911 call locations, have on the location of officer initiated surveillance and enforcement strategies? Using publicly available data from Durham, North Carolina between 2006 and 2020, I investigate how two neighborhood centric emergency crisis – suspicious complaints (citizenry deterrence) and weapon-related calls (citizenry cooperation) – change the intensity of directed patrols across the city, which I use as a proxy for police surveillance. First, I propose a coproduction model of policing where responding officers learn from 911 calls and inform other patrol officers on where to conduct directed patrols. I compare this novel model to two existing frameworks of policing: reactive model of policing and proactive model of policing. Second, I introduce an inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) approach that can estimate the effects of these neighborhood centric calls on directed patrols using their longitude(X)/latitude(Y) coordinates. With this setup, I find that suspicious complaints are responsible for 10.7 percent of directed patrols across the city while weapon- related calls are responsible for 12.2 percent. This proportion is greater in majority-minority communities, however, who tend to be clustered in and around Durham’s gentrifying downtown neighborhoods. In addition, in these downtown neighborhoods, suspicious complaints explain a greater share of directed patrols than do weapon-related calls. This police responsiveness illustrates how 911 callers can indirectly affect levels of police surveillance when engaging in citizenry deterrence, such as suspicious complaints. Residents can have a bottom-up influence on officer-initiated policing strategies.
Developing the Pipeline: How Women’s Organizations Support Women Candidates
Nov. 2, 2022 | Noon to 1:00 PM EDT
Sara Morell (University of Michigan)
Plagiarism Detection as a Legislative Research Tool
Nov. 16, 2022 | Noon to 1:00 PM EDT
John Wilkerson (University of Washington, Seattle)
Although legislation is predominantly text, quantitative legislative studies have traditionally used very little of this
information. I will present several examples of how text reuse methods are advancing legislative studies. I will also share
what we have learned in terms of how to use these methods effectively in the legislative domain. Finally, I hope that we
can brainstorm about additional legislative (or other) applications and potentially useful methodological advances.
Missing, presumed different: Quantifying the risk of attrition bias in education evaluations
Jan. 11, 2023 | Noon to 1:00 PM EDT
Luke Miratrix (Harvard University)
Joint work with Ben Weidmann: Attrition has been described as “the Achilles Heel of the randomized experiment” (Shadish et al., 1998). The main virtue of randomization is its ability to create groups whose only systematic difference is treatment status. Attrition looms as a threat because it can undermine group equivalence, eroding the methodological strength at the heart of a randomized evaluation, a cornerstone of education research. But how large are these biases in practice? To investigate this question, we estimate the magnitude of attrition bias for 10 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in education. We make use of a unique feature of administrative school data in England that allows us to analyze post-test academic outcomes for nearly all students, including those who originally dropped out of the RCTs we analyze. We find that the typical magnitude of attrition bias is 0.015 effect size units (ES), with no estimate greater than 0.034 ES. This suggests that, in practice, the risk of attrition bias is limited. However, this risk should not be ignored as we find some evidence against the common ‘Missing At Random’ assumption. We recommend that researchers incorporate uncertainty due to attrition bias, as well as performing sensitivity analyses based on the types of attrition mechanisms that are observed in practice. We provide an approach for both of these things.
Effects of Political Attacks on Minority Political Attitudes and Behaviors
Jan. 25, 2023 | Noon to 1:00 PM EDT
Nazita Lajevardi (Michigan State University)
Explicit racism in political campaigns is on the rise. While some work has examined how minoritized groups mobilize into politics in the face of such political discrimination, little direct causal evidence exists on the effects of inflammatory campaign rhetoric on members of marginalized groups being directly attacked, and also on those who hold neighboring identities to the direct targets of political attacks. Identity and membership in social groups are powerful forces in politics, producing effects such as partisan bias, racial affinity and discrimination, welfare chauvinism, and many others. And, existing research suggests that while members of minoritized groups do punish candidate derogation aimed at other minoritized groups, responses to attacks on their own ingroup might be stronger. In the face of hostile political rhetoric targeting one outgroup, do individuals with neighboring identities also respond as strongly? We focus on how anti-immigrant attacks affect both immigrant and non immigrants in Canada and the United States. Using Latino-American and South-Asian Canadian samples, we conduct two experiments and randomize respondents into one of three fictional social-media style campaign videos on immigrants, a specific panethnic group (Latinos / South Asians) or a control condition. Results show strong treatment effects on both emotional responses and candidate evaluations. There is some evidence of a difference between targeted and neighboring identities, with immigrants reacting slightly stronger to the anti immigrant ad. However, the difference is quite small, and swamped by the much larger general treatment effects on all respondents. Together, these results point to the importance of neighboring identities, and how social and psychological connections can produce effects as large as actual membership.