New publication: “Immigrant Political Representation and Local Ethnic Concentration: Evidence from a Swedish Refugee Placement Program”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in British Journal of Political Science: “Immigrant Political Representation and Local Ethnic Concentration: Evidence from a Swedish Refugee Placement Program.” This study leverages population registry data from Sweden to examine whether immigrants who live in areas with a high concentration of ethnic minorities are more or less likely to be nominated for political office. It exploits a refugee placement program in place in Sweden during the late 1980s and early 1990s that restricted refugees’ opportunities to freely choose their place of residence. The article presents evidence that immigrants who live in areas with a high ethnic density are less likely to be nominated for political office. The findings have important implications for local integration policies as well as refugee placement policies, as many countries consider local context when resettling refugees.

New Publication: “Selective abstention in simultaneous elections: Understanding the turnout gap”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in Electoral Studies: “Selective abstention in simultaneous elections: Understanding the turnout gap.” If two elections are held at the same day, why do some people choose to vote in one but to abstain in another? We argue that selective abstention is driven by the same factors that determine voter turnout. Our empirical analysis focuses on Sweden where the (aggregate) turnout gap between local and national elections has been about 2–3%. Rich administrative register data reveal that people from higher socio-economic backgrounds, immigrants, women, older individuals, and people who have been less geographically mobile are less likely to selectively abstain.

New publication: “Uncovering the Source of Patrimonial Voting: Evidence from Swedish Twin Pairs”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in Political Behavior: “Uncovering the Source of Patrimonial Voting: Evidence from Swedish Twin Pairs.” The boom in wealth inequality seen in recent decades has generated a steep rise in scholarly interest in both the drivers and the consequences of the wealth gap. In political science, a pertinent question regards the political behavior across the wealth spectrum. A common argument is that the wealthy practice patrimonial voting, i.e. voting for right-wing parties to maximize returns on their assets. While this pattern is descriptively well documented, it is less certain to what extent this reflects an actual causal relationship between wealth and political preferences. In this study, we provide new evidence by exploiting wealth variation within identical twin pairs. Our findings suggest that while more wealth is descriptively connected to more support for right-wing parties, the causal impact of wealth on policy preferences is likely highly overstated. For several relevant policy areas these effects may not exist at all. Furthermore, the bias in naive observational estimates seems to be mainly driven by environmental familial confounders shared within twin pairs, rather than genetic confounding.

New publication: “Migrating natives and foreign immigration: Is there a preference for ethnic residential homogeneity?”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in Journal of Urban Economics: “Migrating natives and foreign immigration: Is there a preference for ethnic residential homogeneity?”. We study the migration behavior of the native Swedish population following refugee immigration, with a particular focus on examining whether there is support for an ethnically based migration response. Using rich geo-coded Swedish data, we account for possible endogeneity problems by combining policy-induced initial immigrant settlements with exogenous contemporaneous immigration as captured by refugee shocks. We find the same flight among all natives, irrespective of their parental foreign background. This suggests that “ethnic distance” to the new immigrants is not the dominant channel causing natives’ flight behavior. Instead, refugee immigration seems to lead to more socio-economically segregated neighborhoods.

New publication: “Intergenerational transmission of party affiliation within political families”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in Political Behavior: “Intergenerational transmission of party affiliation within political families”. We investigate the intergenerational transmission of political-party affiliation within families with at least two politicians. We use Swedish registry data that covers all nominated politicians for the years 1982 to 2014, as well as their family ties. First, we demonstrate there is a strong link between individuals and their parents concerning party affiliation. We also find that this intergenerational transmission persists over generations and across siblings. Our second aim is to investigate the mechanisms behind this result, which we do by first discussing two hypotheses: the one concerns a socialization pathway, the other a materialistic one. We then bring these hypotheses to the data, and we find that the socialization pathway matters more for
intergenerational transmission.

New publication: “Big brother sees you, but does he rule you?”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in Journal of Politics: “Big brother sees you, but does he rule you?” While recent research finds strong evidence that birth order affects outcomes such as education, IQ scores, earnings, and health, the evidence for effects on political outcomes is more limited. Based on population-wide data from Sweden, our within-family estimates show that firstborns are significantly more likely to run for and be elected to political office. In addition, for the males in our sample we test whether a number of potential mechanisms account for the relationship between birth order and political participation. Disconfirming our expectations, the birth order effects are only marginally smaller when controlling for occupational economic status, cognitive ability and leadership skills. Our results suggest that big brother, or for that matter big sister, not only sees us; to a certain extent he or she also rules us.

New publication: “Birth Order and Voter Turnout”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in British Journal of Political Science: “Birth Order and Voter Turnout”. Previous studies have stressed the role of a child’s family environment for future political participation. This field of research has, however, overlooked that children within the same family have different experiences depending on their birth order. First-borns spend their first years of life without having to compete over their parents’ attention and resources, while their younger siblings are born into potential rivalry. We examine differences in turnout depending on birth order, using unique population-wide individual level register data from Sweden and Norway that enables precise within-family estimates. We consistently find that higher birth order entails lower turnout, and that the turnout differential with respect to birth order is stronger when turnout is lower. The link between birth order and turnout holds when we use data from four other, non-Nordic countries. This birth order effect appears to be partly mediated by socio-economic position and attitudinal predispositions.

New publication: “Education and voter turnout revisited: Evidence from a Swedish twin sample with validated turnout data”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in Electoral Studies: “Education and voter turnout revisited: Evidence from a Swedish twin sample with validated turnout data”. The association between education and voter turnout is well-established in almost a century of research. The causal status of this correlation, however, is still subject to debate. Results in the previous literature differ substantially, and this may reflect both methodological differences and heterogeneous effects across populations or types of elections. This study addresses the question using a discordant twin design and variance decomposition methods with validated turnout data for both first- and second-order elections in a large sample of Swedish twins, paired with population-wide sibling data. Results show that education does not have an effect on national electoral turnout, but does have an effect on turnout in the European elections. Furthermore, the
association between education and turnout is shown to be affected by substantial genetic confounding, which leaves a non-trivial amount of bias even in sibling based designs. This underscores the importance of taking genetic confounding seriously in observational research.

New publication: “Disentangling the Impact of Civil Association Membership on Political Participation: Evidence from Swedish Panel Data”

The CONPOL team is pleased to announce a new publication in British Journal of Political Science: “Disentangling the Impact of Civil Association Membership on Political Participation: Evidence from Swedish Panel Data”. What is the effect of membership in civil associations on political participation? Membership has been linked to providing social capital and personal networks, which in turn help citizens  more easily navigate politics. Yet this link is empirically complex, since politically interested individuals self-select into networks and associations. This research note addresses the impact of membership on different forms of political participation using a panel survey from Sweden that distinguishes between passive and active membership in various types of associations. The baseline results reaffirm a strong association between membership and political participation. The survey’s panel dimension is exploited to reveal that earlier scholarship has likely overstated the robustness of membership’s participatory effects. Rather, the remaining impact of association membership in the panel specification is mainly driven by types of associations for which the highest degree of selection behaviour is expected.