Building Parties From City Hall: Party Membership and Municipal Government in Brazil (The Journal of Politics, 2020)
Under what conditions does local incumbency help a party recruit new members? In this article, I use a regression discontinuity design to study the consequences of municipal incumbency for party membership recruitment in Brazil, and I find that the effect of incumbency on grassroots party-building is conditional on the party’s prior level of institutionalization. Municipal incumbency increased membership recruitment only among centralized and programmatic parties that already had a well-established organizational presence in the municipality, and it was ineffective and sometimes even counterproductive for weaker parties. I also find evidence that the incumbency advantage for institutionalized parties is only partly explained by patronage, and incumbency also helps these parties recruit high-intensity members who seek to participate in the party and who remain affiliated with the party even when it is no longer in power.
Less is more: The paradox of choice in voting behavior (Electoral Studies, 2021; with Saul Cunow, Scott Desposato, and Andrew Janusz)
How does the number of candidates competing in an election affect voting behavior? In theory, as the number of candidates running for office increase, citizens’ utility from voting also increases. With more candidates, voters are more likely to have candidates that are close to their ideal points. Practically, however, more candidates also means a higher cognitive burden for voters who must learn more during campaigns in order to find their “ideal” candidate. In this paper, we examine how choice set size affects voting behavior. Using a survey experiment, we show that subjects presented with many options learn less about candidates, are more likely to vote based on meaningless heuristics, and are more likely to commit voting errors, when compared with subjects who choose between only a few candidates.
Race and Campaign Resources: Candidate Identification Numbers in Brazil (Journal of Politics in Latin America, 2021; with Andrew Janusz)
Party elites may hinder racial and ethnic minorities from winning public office by withholding resources. Prior studies have explored the distribution of money, media access, and party-list positions. In Brazil, party elites provide each candidate with a unique identification number. Voters must enter their preferred candidate’s identification number into an electronic voting machine to register their support. In this article, we replicate and extend Bueno and Dunning’s (2017) analysis of candidate identification numbers. They conclude that party elites do not provide white candidates with superior identification numbers than non-whites. We contend that assessing intraparty variation is theoretically and methodologically warranted. Using party fixed effects, we find that party elites provide non-white candidates with worse identification numbers than whites. We demonstrate that our findings are generalisable using data from other elections. Moreover, we show that party elites also withhold advantageous numbers from women and political novices.
Selected Works in Progress
Book Project: The Life of the Party: Grassroots Activists and Mass Partisanship in Latin America
Women and Party Building: Evidence from municipal governments in Brazil (with Tanushree Goyal)