Selected Working Papers
Neighborhood-based organizations (NBOs) can be powerful political actors, shaping policy outcomes and strengthening accountability. Whose voices do they elevate, and to what extent might they reduce or exacerbate local socio-political inequality? While some NBOs may strengthen social capital and facilitate political participation for marginalized groups, others have been active forces in segregating communities. Their dueling roles are especially salient in a context of climate change, where NBOs play a key role in facilitating or preventing neighborhood-scale policies for climate change adaptation and hazard mitigation. We develop a framework of neighborhood-based organizations and their role in shaping service provision, adaptation planning, and disaster response. We distinguish between property owners associations (e.g. homeowners associations) and residential voluntary associations (e.g. neighborhood or community associations), and discuss how different types of NBOs interact with policymakers in complex institutional environments throughout the Global North and South, with implications for equity of climate adaptation and resilience. We present preliminary survey data from a nationally representative U.S. sample. Overall, we find positive relationships between NBO membership, social capital, disaster preparedness and access to relief.
Research indicates that women are less ambitious than men to enter politics, but does this pattern of gendered ambition continue for people who have entered national politics? This paper explores whether men and women legislators with similar backgrounds and qualifications, conditional on the political context that shapes politicians’ career paths, have similar aspirations for their political future. Using data from the Political Elites in Latin America Survey (PELA) collected between 2008–2017 in 18 Latin American presidential systems, optimal pair matching, and multilevel estimation techniques, our analyses reveal that women are as likely as their male colleagues to want to continue in politics. Aspirations to continue a political career and the type of political post are shaped by country context, such as federal/unitary system, urban/rural district, ballot structure, the power of the legislature, and percentage of women in the legislature, but not in general by legislator sex.
Rapid urbanization increases the need to produce public goods, particularly in developing countries, where underprovision and unequal access to services are common. Many public services and development projects are tied to specific neighborhoods, where citizens vote at polling stations whose vote shares are publicly known. We argue that even in ``at large electoral systems," the local nature of public services provision creates incentives for voters to demand narrow local representation and for local politicians to respond to specific requests and interests of a given group of constituencies within the city, often at the expense of others. We test our expectations by exploring variation in sub-municipal service provision across Brazilian municipalities using geo-coded data merging polling station results with census tract data. Our preliminary results suggest that higher bloc voting is associated with an increase in public service provision around the polling station from 2000 to 2010, primarily driven by improvement in trash collection. These relationships are strongest in urban/semi-urban and mid-size neighborhoods. Our results show how local political behavior shapes public service provision and contributes to our understanding of local distributive politics and accountability within municipalities.
What factors determine candidates’ and parties’ geographic electoral coordination? This paper analyzes how the strategies of politicians to geographically concentrate or disperse their electoral base in systems of non-transferable preference votes are conditional on parties’ electoral strength and experience. I leverage an electoral reform in Colombia in 2003, which replaced a system that was essentially the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) with party-list proportional representation (PR with open or closed lists), bringing an excellent opportunity to observe the consequences of a change in the presence and absence of vote pooling. Contrary to the expectation by many scholars on the minimal role parties can play in weakly institutionalized party systems, I find that as the local electoral strength of parties increases, candidates before the reform (SNTV) have incentives to concentrate their campaign efforts on a limited geographical area. After the reform (OLPR), candidates faced incentives to disperse their geographic efforts. However, if parties have a weak performance in local elections, the effects of the absence or presence of vote pooling are the opposite.