UPCOMING CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
To be presented at the 76th Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, April 5-8, 2017, Chicago, IL.
"The Contextual Determinants of Repertoires of Contention: Political Protest as a Constrained Choice Problem"
Without distinguishing distinct types of protest with varied costs and legitimacy, and mainly focusing on micro-level explanations, previous studies on protest behavior often seeks to answer who participates in political protests. Additive measures and linear models they employ, however, do not allow answering why individuals prefer one type of non-violent protest to another, and why particular types of protest are more common in some countries, but not in others with similar regime types and levels of economic development. This study asks whether varying political and institutional contexts lead to varying repertoires of contention over time and across space. I apply a novel discrete-choice model, the constrained choice conditional logistic regression (Moral and Zhirnov 2017) allowing researchers to model the process that generates an individual's effective choice set and that whereby the individual makes a choice among the alternatives included in her choice set, to the second, third, and fourth waves of the World Values Survey (1990-2002). The analyses show that high and increasing repression and legal constraints, and the availability of more legitimate and less costly means of influencing public policy constrain protest potential, and make certain types of protest unavailable to some individuals regardless of their resources, skills, and values. In these regards, this study contributes to the literatures on protest behavior, state repression, and democratic theory.
"Ever Considered (Not) Voting for a Party?" with Andrei Y. Zhirnov.
Students of voting behavior have long been concerned with approximating individuals' electoral utilities. While some derive those from self-reported vote choices, others employ likelihoods of ``ever voting'' for each party --i.e., the ``propensities to vote'' (PTV). We make a case against the validity of PTV as a measure of vote choice, based on the distinction between voters' election-specific decisions and longer-term constraints. We argue that PTV questions, by design, are not intended to capture the former. Applying the constrained choice conditional logistic regression (Moral and Zhirnov 2017) to the data from the Dutch Parliamentary and European Election Studies, we compare the behavior of voters' latent propensities to consider specific parties to their PTV responses. We model individuals' propensities to include parties in their choice sets as a function of partisanship, ideological congruence, and parties' electoral viability, and parameterize the second equation on vote choice using election-specific changes in parties' policy offerings. While PTVs are highly correlated with estimated probabilities of inclusion in the choice set, they have a weaker association with the effects of policy considerations on individuals' observed vote choices. We conclude by discussing the methodological problems that might arise from the use of PTV questions as the dependent variable, and argue how PTV and vote choice questions should be treated as complements, rather than substitutes.
"Institutional Constraints on Coalition Formation" With Evgeny A. Sedashov and Andrei Y. Zhirnov
As Strom, Budge, and Laver convincingly argued in their 1994 article, political parties face a number of hard and soft institutional constraints in the process of government formation. Even though empirical models of coalition formation have since then regularly included institutional variables, they do not give justice to this idea as they tend to ignore the implicit interactivity of the effects of institutional and non-institutional factors. In this paper, we remedy this issue by employing the constrained choice conditional logit model (Moral and Zhirnov, Forthcoming). We model coalition formation as a two-step process. The first step produces a set of potential government coalitions and is informed by the electoral results, the rules of coalition formation, legislative institutions, and pre-electoral alliances. The second step determines which of these possible coalitions is installed; it is informed by the ideological and policy proximity among potential coalition partners. Our findings suggest that choice set composition significantly affects the outcomes of coalition formation process in the examined European parliamentary democracies since the WWII.
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