Saturday, August 5, 2017

Nationalism and Ethnic-Based Trust: Evidence From an African Border Region

Nationalism and Ethnic-Based Trust: Evidence From an African Border Region. Amanda Lea Robinson. Comparative Political Studies, Feb 2016.

In diverse societies, individuals tend to trust coethnics more than non-coethnics. I argue that identification with a territorially defined nation, common to all ethnic groups, reduces the degree to which trust is ethnically bounded. I conduct a “lab-in-the-field” experiment at the intersection of national and ethnic boundaries in Malawi, which measures strength of national identification, experimentally manipulates national identity salience, and measures trust behaviorally. I find that shared nationality is a robust predictor of trust, equal in magnitude to the impact of shared ethnicity. Furthermore, national identification moderates the degree to which trust is limited to coethnics: While weak national identifiers trust coethnics more than non-coethnics, strong national identifiers are blind to ethnicity. Experimentally increasing national identity salience also eliminates the coethnic trust advantage among weak nationalists. These results offer micro-level evidence that a strong and salient national identity can diminish ethnic barriers to trust in diverse societies.

Social Desirability Bias and Polling Errors in the 2016 Presidential Election

Social Desirability Bias and Polling Errors in the 2016 Presidential Election. Andy Brownback and Aaron Novotny. University of Arkansas Working Paper, July 2017,

Abstract: Social scientists have observed that socially desirable responding (SDR) often biases unincentivized surveys. During the 2016 presidential campaign, we conducted three list experiments to test the effect SDR has on polls of agreement with presidential candidates. We elicit a subject's agreement with either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump using explicit questioning or an implicit elicitation that allows subjects to conceal their individual responses. We find evidence that explicit polling overstates agreement with Clinton relative to Trump. Dividing subjects by party identification, we find that SDR significantly diminishes explicit statements of agreement with the opposing party's candidate. Democrats are significantly less likely to explicitly state agreement with Trump. This threatens the predictive validity of polling, negatively impacts the ability of markets to accurately price assets, and exaggerates disagreements between Democrats and Republicans. We measure economic policy preferences and find no evidence that ideological agreement drives SDR. We find suggestive evidence that SDR correlates with county-level voting patterns.

Keywords: Polling, Politics, Social Desirability, List Experiment, Behavioral Economics
JEL Classification: D02, D72