Work in progress

Privileging one’s own? Voting patterns and politicized spending in India
(with Pradeep Chhibber)

When and how do politicians manipulate the allocation of public resources? We argue that politicians’ choices are influenced by the type of networks that bring them to power. Politicians from parties closely linked to strong social networks (embedded parties) face pressures to allocate resources to members of that network even when this is electorally inefficient. Politicians from parties without such ties (non-embedded parties) are less constrained. We provide evidence for this using an original polling station (precinct) level dataset, linking voting patterns in the 2009 Indian general election to the characteristics of some 234,000 census villages and to project allocations 2009–14 under India’s discretionary constituency development scheme (MPLADS). The mechanisms underpinning the observed patterns are explored through a natural experiment created by the implementation of new electoral boundaries in 2008. The findings contribute to our understanding of when and why we observe different forms of manipulation of public resources by politicians.

Effects of Sexual Misconduct Training on University Campuses (with Carlos Contreras, Melanie Sayuri Dominguez, Mala Htun, Justine Tinkler)

What are the effects of sexual misconduct training on college campuses? As the #metoo movement grows, public and private organizations around the world are exploring training and other policy mechanisms to combat sexual assault and harassment. This paper examines the effects of mandatory, in-person training on sexual misconduct for students at a diverse university in the Southwest of the US. Drawing on three studies— two with a quasi-experimental and one with an experimental design—and interviews with students and staff, we explore the effects of the training on attitudes towards rape myths, gender stereotypes, and expressed willingness to report of episodes of violence. We find that students who undergo the training gain a more nuanced perspective on what constitutes sexual misconduct and are less likely to endorse common rape myths, especially men. However, the training also made students more likely to express some traditional gender stereotypes and less likely—particularly women—to say they would report incidents of sexual assault. Concluding with reflections on the reasons for the counter-productive effects, this paper has implications for the design of institutional responses to sexual misconduct.

Electoral Switching in Indian Elections (with Pavithra Suryanarayan)
This paper focuses on an understudied aspect of party system institutionalization: the strength and stability of linkages between parties and candidates. Using original data on rerunning patterns of candidates across 3,872 constituencies in 26 Indian states 1974–2007, we look at an important manifestation of weak party-candidate linkages: candidates switching parties from one election to the next. In this paper, we seek to describe and explain the great variation in electoral switching across the Indian states. Whereas parties and candidates face incentives to change alliances opportunistically in response to short-term factors such as a weak economy, we should expect more such behavior in contexts of weakly organized parties and weak party-voter linkages. We provide evidence for this by using constituency-level estimates of the organizational capacity of parties, the intensity of social cleavages, and economic shocks. Our findings suggest that electoral switching is a useful micro-level measures of party system institutionalization.

Forging Ikumen in Japan: On state efforts to change gender roles (with Mala Htun and Melanie Sayuri Sonntag)
To raise the birth rate and promote women’s advancement, the Japanese state has adopted policies and programs to change gender roles, including the ‘ikumen’—or active father—project. Drawing on surveys conducted 2000-14 and three dozen interviews, we demonstrate changes in attitudes about gender roles and men’s contributions, but little change to working habits and the sexual division of labor. State efforts have produced only an “incomplete revolution,” as economic, social, and legal institutions continue to encourage traditional gender roles. However, our study offers grounds for optimism, as the change in attitudes indicates that new gender roles have gained some legitimacy.

Keeping women out: Incumbency and renomination patterns for female politicians in India

While village-level quotas in India have brought hundreds of thousands of women to power in local politics, only 4.6% of the Members of Parliament (MPs) and 4.7% of the Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) in India have been women since 1961. Using a complete, new dataset of the more than 500,000 candidates in Indian state assembly and parliamentary elections 1961-2015, including almost 25,000 female candidates, I show that female candidates tend to do as well as male candidates in the elections where they run. Controlling for differences in candidate quality by using a regression discontinuity design (RDD) of close elections between male and female candidates, I also show that parties tend to re-nominate fewer of their female than their male incumbents and runner-ups. The findings indicate that it is party bias and a hostile political environment rather than voters bias that has made the inclusion of women in Indian politics so slow.

Time in office and the Changing Gender Gap in Dishonesty: Evidence from Local Politics in India (with Ananish Chaudhuri, Vegard Iversen, and Pushkar Maitra)
Increasing the share of women in politics is regularly promoted as a means of reducing corruption. In this paper, we look for evidence of a gender gap in dishonesty among elected representatives, as well as how this changes with time in office. Based on a sample of 356 inexperienced and experienced local politicians in West Bengal, India, we combine survey data on attitudes towards corruption with data from incentivized experiments. While we find little evidence of a gender gap in the attitudes of inexperienced politicians, a lower faith in political institutions and a greater distaste for corruption can be seen among experienced politicians, particularly women. However, this seeming hardening in attitudes among female politicians also coincides with more dishonest behavior in our experiments. Exploring mechanisms for this difference, we find it to be strongly associated with lower risk aversion. Our study indicates that gender gaps in politics should be theorized as dynamic and changing, rather than static.

Electoral Importance and Media Consumption: Quasi-experimental Evidence and New Data from India (with Julia Cagé and Guilhem Cassan)
What are the determinants of news media consumption? In this paper, we investigate whether it is determined by political motives. We build a new panel dataset on Indian publications at the city level between 2002 and 2017. We exploit the 2008 delimitation of the Assembly Constituencies, an exogenous change in the electoral importance of cities across India, to causally identify the relationship between relative electoral importance and news media consumption. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we compare change in the supply and demand of news in cities whose electoral importance increased compared to cities whose electoral importance did not. We show that media markets whose electoral importance increases see an increase in their total newspaper circulation per capita. We discuss how this political motive can be decomposed into media supply and media demand.