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Department of Political Science

Grant Recipients Spring Semester 2023

We are proud to fund and present a diverse and compelling set of research projects on the Politics of Inequality. Please find more information below.

Recipients and Project Descriptions

Tuuli Anna Huikuri

Tuuli-Anna Huikuri

Women in International Economic Negotiations

Growing international relations scholarship is examining how economic globalization affects women’s rights around the world, as well as the impact women leaders have on interstate conflict and crisis bargaining. However, less is known about the impact of women on the global economy. This project investigates the potential impact of increasing influence of women in the negotiations of international economic agreements. Although long-standing assumptions hold that women are more peaceful, cooperative, and empathetic than men, it has been suggested that women who have made it to the relevant top offices are likely unrepresentative. Further, international political economy scholarship has found that women tend to be more sceptical of economic globalization and free trade, while experimental studies show that women are more risk averse, less likely to bluff, but also less likely to back down from threats when faced with audience costs than their male counterparts. Building on existing work on international relations, psychology, and business studies, the project investigates a set of hypotheses about the individual-level sources of negotiation strategies, as well as the challenges and opportunities disproportionately affecting women at the negotiation table. To test the theory, the project collects observational data on gender-composition of negotiating teams, conducts text analysis of rhetoric used by negotiators, and conducts elite interviews with women negotiators.

Sophie Heintz

Sofie Heintz

Inequality, electoral support for public service provision and the Aam Aadmi Party

Although public services feature among the most salient factors when evaluating government performance, public service provision in many democratic developing contexts is still severely lacking. The scholarship explains this puzzling contradiction by the fact that voter-party linkages based on programmatic policy promises are in many contexts overshadowed by partisan or ethnic appeals, undermined by dynamics of clientelism, uncertain attributability of policies to political actors or weak institutional capacity. For many of these factors, India is often characterised as a prime example.
An agenda promising the programmatic delivery of untargeted, universally accessible public services has until recently been uncommon in the political arenas of the Indian north. However, public discourse has shifted since the relatively novel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has begun to focus its electoral promises on the improvement in the quality and quantity of public service provision. After winning the 2015 Delhi State Assembly elections with an overwhelming majority, AAP has implemented various public sector reforms that appear to enjoy support from voters from a broad socioeconomic range. However, to what extent this shapes political preferences and informs vote choice remains so far understudied.
This project will collect and analyse qualitative and quantitative data to provide insights into how this model of public service provision affects voter-party dynamics of distributive politics. The qualitative data will be collected during a 9-month fieldwork stay in Delhi. Building on these insights, a survey containing a conjoint experiment exploring the importance of public service access to inform vote choice will be fielded.


Jelle Koedam & Ruth Dassonneville

Affective polarization in a multidimensional space

In recent decades, the policy preferences of both citizens and political parties have become more complex. As a result, the single left-right divide no longer captures the ideological differences in society. Politics today is multidimensional. The consequences of this development for voter polarization and behavior have received scant attention, however. This project contributes to the literature by exploring the relationship between ideological and affective polarization among citizens in multiparty and, crucially, multidimensional systems. How do policy (dis)agreements on economic (e.g., inequality and redistribution) and cultural issues (e.g., immigration) interact and shape relations between partisan groups? Our main theoretical argument focuses on the role of cross-cutting ideological divides. Specifically, we expect that when cultural polarization cuts across established (economic) political conflict, it mitigates, rather than reinforces, overall affective polarization. To test this prediction, we plan to run individual-level survey experiments in multiple European countries, which aim to identify how ideological polarization shapes in-group favoritism and out-group animosity among partisans (i.e., affective polarization).

Giorgio Malet

Giorgio Malet

How rural development policies affect political attitudes: The case of the Common Agricultural Policy

Against the backdrop of rising spatial inequalities, place-sensitive policies have become an increasingly popular instrument to support rural and “left behind” areas. Previous research tends to focus on regional policies and analyzes only the impact of funding. Yet, people’s experiences with a policy may vary substantially within a region, and other policy characteristics may also affect political attitudes. This paper aims at overcoming these limitations by studying the effect of individual payments of the Common Agricultural Policy, as well as their conditionalities, on the political attitudes of French farmers. It combines interviews with farmers, an observational analysis of the electoral returns of CAP funding, and an original targeted survey matched withed the administrative data on payments. Results will shed light on an understudied social group which is central to many current policy challenges and will contribute to opening a new research agenda on policy feedback in the European Union.