Homero Gil de Zúñiga, Hugo Marcos-Marne and Emily Carty: “Affective Polarization, Social Media News, and Political Persuasion”

Hugo Marcos-Marne, from University of Salamanca, presented the paper above mentioned. It follows the abstract:

“Prior research underscores the utility of political persuasion to sustain more deliberative and engaged democracies. When citizens display increased openness to political attitude change, societies benefit as diverse viewpoints thrive, and a more consensual public sphere may be fostered. This contrasts with today’s contentious political and media environment. With political affective polarization on the rise, and new social media avenues enabling citizens to curate more diverse news consumption patterns, little is known about how affective polarization affects the ability for citizens to be politically persuaded in social media environments. Relying on US panel survey data, this study seeks to shed light on this phenomenon. Cross-sectional, lagged, and overtime causal order (autoregressive) models results suggest that social media news use and affective polarization directly predict social media political persuasion (SMPP). Those who consume more news on social media and exhibit lower levels of political affective polarization tend to more frequently engage in political attitude change. Theoretical implications of these findings, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are all discussed.”

Joris Thijm: “Theories of Political Coalitions”

Joris Alberdingk Thijm, PhD student from ICS, University of Lisbon, presented a chapter of his PhD thesis. It follows the abstract:

“The aim of this chapter is to discuss a selection of the most important theories of coalition formation that have emerged in the literature since the mid-20th century. This exercise will ultimately inform the formulation of an original theoretical model of government coalitions in presidential systems in a subsequent chapter. Four different but interconnected literatures can inform our attempt to build such model. These are: (1) the fundamental game theoretical literature and the two applied literatures inspired by it, namely (2) the literature on government coalitions in parliamentary systems, which is mainly centered on Europe, and (3) the social choice literature on legislative coalitions, which is mostly based on the US context. Aside from those three literatures, there is (4) the younger literature on government coalition formation and management in multiparty presidential systems, which is mainly empirical in origin. This chapter is organized into four main sections, one for each aforementioned literature. The focus will be on theories and theoretical arguments; we do not concern ourselves here with the findings of empirical studies that operationalize and test these theories. Furthermore, as explaining oversized coalitions in presidential systems is one of the main objectives of this thesis, the focus will be of theories and models which have something to say about coalition size.”

Ignacio Lago: “Making Mobilization Work:​ The Adoption of Proportional Representation”

Ignacio Lago, from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, presented a paper with the following abstract:

“This paper examines the adoption of electoral systems in the last two centuries. I argue that PR was adopted to make parties’ mobilization easier when majoritarian electoral systems with many small districts were no longer an efficient response to the problem of collective action in mass elections. With the expansion of suffrage and the parallel process of national integration, mass parties became technologically feasible and took care of bringing voters to the ballot box. PR systems with few and large districts facilitated their mobilization efforts. PR was endorsed by those parties that are found it easier to attract voters using a single mobilization strategy with strong economics of scale, and resisted it by locally focused parties. The argument is tested using longitudinal and cross section data both at the country and party levels. Key Words: Collective Action; Electoral System; Nationalization; Political Parties; Proportional Representation.”

Roula Nezi and Carsten Wegscheider: “The People and the Nation Conceptions of nationalism and the level of support for radical parties​”

Roula Nezi, from the University of Surrey, presented a paper with the following abstract:

“Voters and parties hold different views on who belong to the nation and to Europe. Previous research shows that radical left parties focus on the political, economic, and cultural integration of marginalized groups, while they promote social and cultural diversity. In contrast, radical right parties are exclusionary and focus on the ethnic homogeneity of the nation by excluding those perceived as non-native. While nationalism has been studied extensively at the party level, we know relatively little about voters’ self-understanding of nationalism and Europeanism and how it affects their level of support for radical parties. In this article, we use survey data from the latest wave of the European Values Study, and we employ a multilevel latent class analysis to identify varieties of nationalism and Europeanism in Europe and they affect the support for radical parties. Our results thus make important contribution to the study of nationalism as well as to the study of voting behaviour in a comparative European perspective.”

Markus Wagner: “Voters and the IMF: Experimental Evidence From European Crisis Countries”

Markus Wagner, from the University of Vienna, presented a paper with the following abstract:

“Critics of the IMF have raised concerns that IMF programs undermine democracy in the countries where the Fund intervenes. But although voters are central for questions of democratic governance, existing research does not directly examine how voters evaluate the costs and benefits of such external interventions. Our analysis uses an experimental approach to assess competing theories about the impact of IMF interventions on voters and the mechanisms behind this relationship. Our results from surveys in Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain show that – with the exception of Greece – approval of fiscal adjustment among voters is higher with than without IMF intervention. This is the case because voters expect that the crisis is more likely to be solved when the IMF intervenes. At the same time, voters are critical of the constraints that an IMF intervention imposes on the government’s room to maneuver. Taken together, however, the hope that the crisis can be resolved with the IMF generally dominates the dissatisfaction over the loss of democratic control.”

Yani Kartalis: “Parliamentary questions’ constituency focus under times of crisis. An Examination of the Greek Case”

Yani Kartalis, from ICS, presented a chapter from his thesis. The abstract reads:

“Do macro-economic conditions affect legislators’ representative focus? This article examines this novel predictor by analyzing an original dataset of parliamentary questions from the Greek parliament. Greece is a very informative case since not only is the country most severely hit by the recent Eurozone Crisis but it also offers an institutional setting that provides plenty of incentives to re-election-seeking actors for constituency-focused representative work. The data utilized covers an extended period of six Greek legislatures and over 12000 parliamentary current questions asked pre, during and post-crisis between 2006 and 2019. The stand-alone effect of macro-economic conditions as well as its interaction with known predictors like the legislators’ vulnerability are tested. Findings provide evidence that a better national economic performance conditions increase the likelihood that MPs with table current questions about their constituency, although other traditional factors are more important.”

António Costa Pinto: “O Regresso das Ditaduras?”

António Costa Pinto, coordinator researcher at ICS – University of Lisbon, presented his recently published book “O Regresso das Ditaduras?”. It follows an excerpt from the book: 

“Independentemente das suas diferentes naturezas, as ditaduras contemporâneas apresentam alguns traços de continuidade e de mudança em relação ao passado. A personalização do poder é um elemento de continuidade. […] De Vladimir Putin a Lukashenko, de Erdogan a Orbán, a personalização parece continuar a ser um universal dos regimes autoritários. Com reformas constitucionais à medida ou alteração de posição no sistema político (como no caso da Rússia), a cristalização do poder num ditador manteve‑se, e o dilema da sucessão permanece.

São regimes menos ideológicos do que os do passado. As ditaduras fascistas e comunistas impunham modelos ideológicos muito fortes, com instituições de socialização complexas e fortemente enraizadas na sociedade, e inimigos bem definidos. Outras tinham valores mais difusos mas importantes, que iam do reacionarismo de inspiração religiosa ao marxismo e ao nacionalismo. Se o nacionalismo está quase sempre presente, os novos regimes autoritários são bem menos ideológicos do que os do passado e o seu discurso legitimador aponta para a «ordem» e o «bem‑estar» da sociedade, com mais elementos miméticos das democracias. Muitas vezes o discurso associado ao crescimento económico e à melhoria das condições de vida da população é quase exclusivo, aproximando‑o dos regimes democráticos. No entanto, a construção de «inimigos externos» associados à comunidade internacional e suas organizações, bem como ao soberanismo são acionados com regularidade.

[…] As velhas ditaduras faziam escasso recurso a eleições semicompetitivas ou parcialmente livres, parlamentos com representantes das oposições, e liberalização de censuras prévias aos meios de comunicação social. As novas, sim. […] Os regimes de partido único foram, em inúmeros casos, substituídos por regimes com um partido dominante bem entrincheirado no Estado. Por outro lado, as tensões em volta deste aumento do «pluralismo limitado» são também mais evidentes. Apesar da diminuição clara das pressões democratizadoras da comunidade internacional desde o início do século XXI, o escrutínio internacional sobre as eleições é hoje mais forte, e a incerteza introduzida pela sua realização para os ditadores é maior.

[…] A repressão é sempre um universal das ditaduras, mas as execuções e a criminalização política em massa (ou seja, chamada «repressão de alta intensidade») estão menos presentes. A mobilidade da população é maior e a sua integridade física é menos ameaçada. Quando existem modos mais violentos de repressão, utilizam‑se métodos mais clandestinos, sobretudo quando visam elites de oposição, como é o caso das execuções. O historial de envenenamentos e «desaparecimentos» bem conhecidos da opinião pública mundial está aí para o ilustrar. A repressão aberta das manifestações de desafeção é menor, utilizando expedientes administrativos para as limitar. Por sua vez, a repressão a ativistas da oposição é mais selecionada, evitando‑se a sua forma mais descontrolada, as prisões e os julgamentos políticos.

[…] Os principais meios de comunicação social, jornais e televisões, sofrem sobretudo um controlo económico indireto e autocensura, com ameaças, demissões forçadas de jornalistas, e até encerramentos em conjunturas críticas. De Singapura à Rússia, a autocensura é dominante. Mais complexo é o controlo das redes sociais, que passa por alguma diversidade, desde a sua «nacionalização» à mobilização de meios clandestinos de infiltração, informação e contrapropaganda nas redes. A admissão da censura pelos regimes é rara e, quando presente, legitima‑se na moral e no nacionalismo.

Os novos regimes autoritários têm um nível de integração maior nos mecanismos da economia de mercado. […] Mesmo as ditaduras socialistas sobreviventes foram‑se adaptando ao capitalismo, ainda que o neguem formalmente. Os seus modos de dominação, no entanto, são mais propícios às intervenções ilegais do Estado, à corrupção, às nacionalizações ou privatizações erráticas, em benefício particular. A corrupção da elite política, ajudada pela fraca autonomia do judicial e pelo controlo da comunicação social, introduz também uma incerteza generalizada nas relações entre um Estado, na maioria dos casos capturado, e a sociedade.

A vaga populista de direita (mais ou menos radical) das últimas décadas e a chegada ao poder de alguns partidos e líderes, como, por exemplo, Orbán, na Hungria, Bolsonaro no Brasil, Trump nos EUA, ou o do Partido da Lei e da Justiça, de Kaczyński e Duda, na Polónia, têm levado muitos académicos e analistas a regressar a um conceito introduzido por Fareed Zakaria no final do século XX, o de «democracia iliberal». […] Quais as características destes novos partidos, movimentos e líderes, que geralmente são definidos como populistas? A maioria dos estudiosos aponta para três traços distintivos: a oposição entre «o povo» e a «elite corrupta»; o discurso em nome do povo e da sua «vontade»; o facto de terem uma «ideologia fina», ou seja, sem coerência, eclética, e por vezes contraditória e mutante. O populismo repete enfaticamente o seu caráter democrático, ainda que aponte difusamente para regimes pessoalizados e plebiscitários, que ultrapassam as instituições políticas, sobretudo os parlamentos. As poucas experiências de governo populista nas democracias apontam para a sua tentativa (por vezes conseguida, como na Hungria) de limitar a independência do judicial, dos meios de comunicação social, e dos direitos individuais e de minorias.”


Mónica Brito Vieira: “Representing Silence in Politics”

Mónica Brito Vieira, research assistant professor at ICS – University of Lisbon, presented her recently published APSR article with the following abstract:

“Democratic representation focuses on voice: it conceives voice as that which is represented and as the prime mode of representing. This article argues that this focus is problematic and turns instead to silence to ask a fundamental question: Can representation empower citizens from their silent positions? I approach the question in three parts. First, I offer a new conceptualization of silence, arguing that silence is best understood as the site of a potential or actual presence. Second, I use criteria of domination and displaced involvement to assess attempts to enfranchise silence within the transmission- belt model of representation. Third, I critically engage and strengthen constructivist views of representation by developing these criteria to assess the legitimacy of claims to represent—speak about and for—silent constituencies—namely, the claim to represent an (alleged) silent majority.”


Filipa Madeira, Rui Costa-Lopes, Violeta Alarcão e Paulo Nicola: “Whose Lives Should Be Saved? Patients’ Race/Ethnicity and Medical Rationing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Ana Filipa Madeira (the presenter) and Rui Costa-Lopes, from ICS, Violeta Alarcão, from ISCTE-IUL and Faculdade de Medicina – Universidade de Lisboa, and Paulo Nicola, from IMP&SP – Universidade de Lisboa​ presented their project with the following summary:

“Using a medical decision-making paradigm, this proposal examines whether rationing decisions about medical equipment necessary to treat affected patients are influenced by non-medical factors, such as race/ ethnicity; and whether a potential differential can be explained by implicit prejudice in a sample of physicians working at the National Health System.​”

Bruno P. Carvalho, Gonçalo Marques and Susana Peralta: “Voter Turnout in Municipal Elections: Exploiting Differences in Council Size”

Susana Peralta,  from Nova School of Business and Economics, presented a paper. The abstract reads:

“Proportional representation (PR) systems are expected to attract more voters to the polls, as they increase the probability of a voter being decisive in the election. Using a panel of Portuguese local elections, between 2001 and 2017, we study how the number of representatives in Town Council affects turnout. We first compute a Local Voting Power Index and show that a higher ratio of Alderman per voter increases turnout. We then rely on the population-based rule that determines the size of Town Councils in Portugal to implement a Regression Discontinuity Design and compute a causal (local) effect of Council size on voter turnout. We find that, in line with instrumental theories of voting, an increase of two local representatives is associated with a boost of between 2% and 4% in the number of votes.