Essays on Political Socialization and Polarization
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CitationIfkovits, David. 2020. Essays on Political Socialization and Polarization. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation studies the long-term consequences of political socialization. In the first paper, I study socialization under different regime types and its implications for democratic consolidation. Using public opinion data from transitioning democracies in Sub-Saharan Africa I show that democracy may not be self-enforcing: Individuals socialized under democracy voice less support for democratic rule than individuals socialized under autocracy. In the second paper, my co-author and I analyze habituation effects through socialization among newly enfranchised 16-year-old voters in Austria. We suggest that lowering the voting age has benefits for long-term rates of political participation, but may also reinforce polarization. The third paper conceptualizes political polarization as one form of socialization and demonstrates widespread misperceptions of out-group ideologies in the US electorate. It utilizes and experimental design to test whether an information intervention can mitigate some of the negative consequences of partisan polarization. I find that individuals update their posterior beliefs about out-group ideologies. Such updating lowers negative affect and threat perceptions, but does not impact issue-based polarization.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365150
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