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Title:Putting the winner-loser effect in context: presidentialism & democracy in the Americas
Author(s):Kent, Andrea
Director of Research:Canache, Damarys J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Canache, Damarys J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Winters, Matthew; Mondak, Jeffery J.; Leff, Carol S.
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):political attitudes and behaviors
Latin America
Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP)
quality of democracy
Abstract:This project concerns the winner-loser effect on individual citizens’ political attitudes and behaviors. The process of electoral politics mandates that voters win or lose in tandem with their preferred political candidates. As such, the relationship of such voters vis-à-vis the government and the political system differ based on whether one was a political winner or political loser during the last electoral cycle. Using survey data from the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP), I execute a comparative study of the winner-loser effect across 18 countries from North, Central, and South America. In total, this study includes fifteen dependent variables at the individual level to measure political attitudes and behaviors. I include ten indicators of political attitudes: internal and external efficacy; interpersonal trust; trust in the national government, the president and the national congress; presidential and congressional job approval; satisfaction with democracy and system pride. In keeping with the literature on winning and losing, winners have a stronger, more positive relationship to government than losers and this is seen throughout the political attitudes included here (Anderson et al., 2005; Anderson & Guillory, 1997; Anderson & Tverdova, 2001). Winners are more trusting, view job performance more favorably, and exhibit higher levels of system support than do losers. In the behavioral realm, I include five indicators: contacting government and attending town or party meetings; protest participation; and frequency of political discussion and attempting to sway the votes of other citizens. In contrast to attitudes, losers tend to participate more than winners. While this is expected for protest, it is not expected for conventional participation or political discussion. Ultimately, widespread loser participation is beneficial to democratic politics because it shows losers’ commitments to the polity. In addition to these individual-level effects, however, I also find that the winner-loser effect varies greatly across the countries included in this study. Using multilevel modeling, I account for the cross-national differences by including elements of institutional and democratic context including divided government, presidential power, and the quality of democracy. These measures include an updated version of Shugart and Carey’s (1992) measure of presidential powers. Context helps to account for variations in how much winning and losing matters and in what ways across the countries herein.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Andrea Kent
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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