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Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Jana Morgan. 2018. “Political Decentralization and Party Decay.” Latin American Research Review. 53 (1): 1-18. (Lead article)

Abstract: Early advocates of decentralization lauded it as a strategy for strengthening democratic institutions, but later scholarship has emphasized decentralization’s negative consequences, especially for political parties. This article argues that the impact of political decentralization on established parties is shaped by the context in which the reforms occur, with poor economic performance and limited programmatic differentiation making parties more vulnerable to the challenges posed by decentralization. The article explores how decentralization under such circumstances has contributed to party decay in Latin America, where declining support for established parties has been significant, in some places undermining democratic stability and governability. The article employs cross-national time-series analysis and case studies. The quantitative evidence indicates that political decentralization weakens existing parties in contexts of poor economic conditions and little ideological differentiation in the party system. Case studies elaborate the processes through which decentralizing reforms together with economic conditions and party linkages affect party systems.

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Jana Morgan and Nathan J. Kelly. 2017. “Social Patterns of Inequality, Partisan Competition, and Latin American Support for Redistribution. Journal of Politics 79 (1): 193-209.

Abstract: This article argues that social patterns of inequality and structures of partisan competition play central roles in shaping support for redistribution, offering three important insights concerning redistribution attitude formation. First, pronounced income disparities between ethnic/racial groups reduce support for redistribution. Second, for members of marginalized ethnic groups, entrenched discrimination reflected in large between-group inequalities provokes skepticism regarding state redistributive efforts, undermining their generally favorable attitudes toward redistribution. Third, when party systems feature programmatic competition around distributional issues, citizens are more likely to view government redistribution favorably, particularly where meaningful left options are present, while in systems without programmatic parties advocating pro-poor policy, support for redistribution is weaker. The results based on multilevel analysis of survey data from 18 Latin American countries suggest that building political support for redistribution is more difficult when economic and ethnic inequalities overlap and when party systems lack programmatic appeals emphasizing distributive issues.

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Jana Morgan and Carlos Meléndez. 2016. “Parties Under Stress: A Linkage Decay Framework Applied to the Chilean Party System.” Journal of Politics in Latin America. 8 (3): 25-59. 

Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests Chile’s party system is highly institutionalized. However, recent declines in participation and partisanship have begun to raise questions about this veneer of stability. This article assesses the current state of the Chilean party system, analyzing its ability to provide linkage. We specify a theoretical framework for identifying challenges to linkage and constraints on necessary adaptation. We then use this framework to evaluate linkage in the contemporary Chilean system, emphasizing how its representational profile has changed since the democratic transition. The analysis suggests the two partisan coalitions no longer present clear policy alternatives and programmatic representation increasingly depends on policy responsiveness and relics of old ideological divides. Significant institutional constraints impede parties’ ability to incorporate demands from emerging social groups, and clientelism remains a complementary but not core linkage mechanism. This evidence indicates that while representation in Chile has not yet failed, the system contains serious vulnerabilities.

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Alissandra Stoyan, Sara Niedzwiecki, Jana Morgan, Jonathan Hartlyn, and Rosario Espinal. 2016. “Trust in Government Institutions: The Effects of Performance and Participation in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.” International Political Science Review 37 (1): 18-35.

Abstract: This article analyzes theories of institutional trust in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, two developing countries that have shared some historical legacies but currently manifest divergent economic and political trajectories. The evidence confirms that conventional theories emphasizing participation and government performance help us understand institutional trust in both countries. In addition, the analysis emphasizes the analytical leverage gained by exploring the extent to which different facets of engagement have divergent effects on institutional trust. The findings build upon previous research to underscore the importance of considering how context shapes the precise ways in which performance and engagement influence institutional trust, particularly when analyzing the developing world.

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Peter Enns, Nathan J. Kelly, Jana Morgan, Thomas Volscho, and Christopher Witko. 2014. “Conditional Status Quo Bias and Top Income Shares: How U.S. Political Institutions Benefit the Rich.” Journal of Politics 76 (2): 289-303. 

Abstract: This article develops and tests a model of conditional status quo bias and American inequality. We find that institutional features that bias policy outcomes toward the status quo have played a central role in the path of inequality. Using time-series analysis of top income shares during the post-Depression period, we identify the Senate as a key actor in the politics of income inequality. Our findings suggest that the super-majoritarian nature of the Senate and policy stagnation, when coupled with economic and social factors that produce rising inequality, create a situation in which inequality becomes difficult to reverse.

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Jana Morgan and Melissa Buice. 2013. “Latin American Attitudes toward Women in Politics: The Influence of Elite Cues, Female Advancement, and Individual Characteristics.” American Political Science Review 107 (4): 644-662. 

Abstract: This article outlines three theoretical arguments—socialization, status discontent, and elite cues—that generate competing predictions about the way context shapes gender attitudes. Using hierarchical analysis, we assess the power of these arguments in Latin America, a region that manifests considerable variation on our central explanatory variables and thus offers important theoretical leverage. We find men’s gender attitudes to be highly contingent on elite cues and susceptible to backlash effects in response to women’s economic advancement. Also, where women lack national representation, distrust of government promotes support for female leadership as an alternative to the discredited (male) establishment. The analysis supports existing individual-level explanations of gender attitudes and demonstrates a connection between diffuse democratic values and gender egalitarianism. The findings suggest that recent advances for female politicians in Latin America may be susceptible to reversal, and they illuminate strategies for strengthening women’s equality in the region.

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Jana Morgan and Nathan J. Kelly. 2013. “Market Conditioning, Redistribution and Income Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Journal of Politics 75 (3): 672-85. 

Abstract: This article argues that social patterns of inequality and structures of partisan competition play central roles in shaping support for redistribution, offering three important insights concerning redistribution attitude formation. First, pronounced income disparities between ethnic/racial groups reduce support for redistribution. Second, for members of marginalized ethnic groups, entrenched discrimination reflected in large between-group inequalities provokes skepticism regarding state redistributive efforts, undermining their generally favorable attitudes toward redistribution. Third, when party systems feature programmatic competition around distributional issues, citizens are more likely to view government redistribution favorably, particularly where meaningful left options are present, while in systems without programmatic parties advocating pro-poor policy, support for redistribution is weaker. The results based on multilevel analysis of survey data from 18 Latin American countries suggest that building political support for redistribution is more difficult when economic and ethnic inequalities overlap and when party systems lack programmatic appeals emphasizing distributive issues.

Jana Morgan, Jonathan Hartlyn, and Rosario Espinal. 2011. “Dominican Party System Continuity amid Regional Transformations: Economic Policy, Clientelism and Migration Flows” Latin American Politics and Society. 53 (1): 1-32. 

Abstract: In the 1980s and 1990s, economic crisis produced ideological convergence in many Latin American party systems. Much scholarship explores how this convergence frequently provoked system change that enabled renewed ideological differentiation, but little research examines instances where convergence has persisted without destabilizing the system. Through comparative historical analysis of Dominican continuity amid regional change, we identify factors that sustain or challenge party systems. Then through analysis of Americas Barometer surveys, we assess the causal mechanisms through which these factors shape public support for the traditional Dominican parties. We demonstrate that maintaining programmatic and clientelist linkages facilitates system continuity. In addition, we argue that the threats political outsiders pose to existing party systems are constrained when people excluded from the system are divided and demobilized. In the Dominican case, Haitian immigration divides the popular sector while Dominicans abroad sustain ties to the parties, with both migration flows facilitating party system continuity.

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Rosario Espinal, Jana Morgan, and Jonathan Hartlyn. 2010. “Sociedad civil y poder político en República Dominicana [Civil society and political power in the Dominican Republic].” America Latina Hoy 56 (December): 37-58. 

Abstract: In the Latin American context, the Dominican Republic displays high levels of civic engagement and political activism. Nevertheless, this activism not translated into a civil society that is able to exercise considerable influence in reforming the political system or enhancing democracy. Using survey data, we demonstrate this civic and political engagement of the Dominican population, and then we explore two questions rooted in this empirical puzzle. First, we ask if there is a tendency toward dual participation in both civic and political organizations, which reduces civil society’s ability to pressure the political parties and the state. Second, we examine the nature of the connections that civil society participants have with the state and with the political parties. The analysis demonstrates that an important segment of the population involved in civic associations is also connected to the traditional parties and to clientelist networks.

Jana Morgan and Nathan J. Kelly. 2010. “Explaining Public Attitudes toward Fighting Latin American Inequality.” Poverty and Public Policy 2 (3): 79-111. 

Abstract: This paper uses the 2008 Americas Barometer survey data from 22 countries to explore the factors that shape Latin American attitudes about the role of the state in reducing inequality. Using multilevel analysis to properly model both the individual and country-level predictors of these attitudes, we find that traditional explanations of public attitudes about government’s redistributive role also carry weight in Latin America. Economic evaluations, personal wealth, trust in government, and assessments of government performance are each associated in predictable ways with attitudes about redistribution. But the analysis also identifies factors that have been overlooked in previous research on the state’s role in combating inequality, which has been primarily conducted in the context of the developed world. Namely, we find that Latin Americans appropriately view crime and inequality as interrelated, and as their perceptions of crime as a problem increase so does their support for government efforts to reduce inequality. This relationship is particularly important in poorer countries where inequality and poverty are widespread social ills. The analysis suggests that in the Latin American context it is appropriate to view pursuing anticrime and anti-inequality policies as compatible rather than competing goals.

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Jana Morgan, Rosario Espinal, and Jonathan Hartlyn. 2008. “Gender Politics in the Dominican Republic: Advances for Women, Ambivalence from Men.” Politics & Gender 4 (1): 35-63.

Abstract: A considerable body of research has analyzed the influence of the women’s movement, changes In women’s political representation, and policies promoting women’s interests in the developing world. However, we know comparatively less about the degree to which the attitudes and behaviors of the mass public mirror these national patterns. This article explores the evolution of gender differences in citizens’ political interest, civic engagement, and support for women in politics in the Dominican Republic over 1994–2004, a period important for the country’s democratization as well as one of significant changes in gender-related discourse and policies. We find evidence of a shift from a traditional gender gap to a modern gender gap, but the explanations for changes in women’s views are distinct from those of men. We find that sociostructural factors, particularly age and education, and cues from political elites have significantly different effects on men versus women. Women’s levels of political interest and support for equality in political participation are more fixed in their youth, whereas men’s levels evolve through middle age. The evidence also indicates that reducing the gender gap in political interest would significantly narrow gender differences in civic activism. Most notably, men appear to be more easily swayed by elite cues that favor or oppose women’s political participation; women’s support for equal participation is much less susceptible to reversals in elite support. The consolidation of advances in gender equity thus depends significantly on contextual factors such as elite discourse.

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Nathan J. Kelly and Jana Morgan. 2008. “Religious Traditionalism and Latino Politics in the United States.” American Politics Research 36 (2): 236-63.               

Abstract: This article examines how and why ethnic context conditions the link between religious traditionalism and the political attitudes and behaviors of Latinos in the United States. Existing research shows that the impact of religious traditionalism on political attitudes varies by policy and religious context. Through an analysis of issue attitudes, ideology, and partisanship, we confirm this existing work and also show that religious traditionalism influences Latino political behavior differently than it influences Anglo politics. The impact of religious traditionalism is not nearly as strong among Latinos as among Anglos. To the extent that traditionalism does influence political attitudes and behavior, it generally produces greater ideological conservatism but does not translate into support for the Republican Party—the latter is quite different from its impact in the Anglo population.

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Jana Morgan. 2007. “Partisanship during the Collapse of the Venezuelan Party System.” Latin American Research Review 42 (1): 78-98.    

Abstract: Political parties are crucial for democratic politics; thus, the growing incidence of party and party system failure raises questions about the health of representative democracy the world over. This article examines the collapse of the Venezuelan party system, arguably one of the most institutionalized party systems in Latin America, by examining the individual-level basis behind the exodus of partisans from the traditional parties. Multinomial logit analysis of partisan identification in 1998, the pivotal moment of the system’s complete collapse, indicates that the critical factors prompting people to leave the old system and encouraging them to support new parties were the failure of the traditional parties to incorporate and give voice to important ideas and interests in society as well as the emergence of viable alternatives that stepped in to fill this void in representation.

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Jana Morgan Kelly, Rosario Espinal, and Jonathan Hartlyn. 2006. “Diferenças de gênero na República Dominicana, 1994-2004: dois passos à frente, um passo para trás [Gender Differences in the Dominican Republic, 1994-2004: Two steps forward, one step back].” Opinião Pública 12 (2): 241-76. 

Abstract: The slowly changing nature of the gender gap responds both to significant social changes, such as urbanization, education, the entry of women into the labor force, and democratization, as well as to concerted efforts by social movements and political leaders to broaden women’s right. These factors have clearly played an important role in the Dominican Republic over this past decade, impacting the country’s gender gap. We assess the nature and evolution of the Dominican Republic’s gender gap over the 1994-2004 period employing data taken from four nationwide public opinion surveys in the Dominican Republic – the Demos surveys – conducted in 1994, 1997, 2001, and 2004. The analysis of these surveys indicates that elements of what has been termed a traditional gender gap remain in place in the country with regard to civic engagement, political interest, and attitudes toward democracy. At the same time, this gap disappeared with regard to voter participation in elections and a modern gender gap emerged for the first time with regard to attitudes about the role of women in politics. Age and education have consistent and substantial differential effects across the attitudinal profiles of Dominican men and women over this time period.

Rosario Espinal, Jonathan Hartlyn, and Jana Morgan Kelly. 2006. “Performance Still Matters: Explaining Trust in Government in the Dominican Republic.” Comparative Political Studies 39 (2): 200-23.

Abstract: What explains low levels of trust in government institutions in democratizing Latin American countries? The authors examine this question in the Dominican Republic, employing data from three surveys conducted over 1994 to 2001. Their analysis finds that trust in government institutions is shaped primarily by perceptions of economic and political performance by government. There is little evidence of a relationship between civic engagement and institutional trust, and no relationship between democratic values and institutional trust. They find a curvilinear effect between socioeconomic status and institutional trust, with middle-sector groups significantly less trusting of government institutions than either the poor or the wealthy. Age has a nonlinear effect as older generations, who experienced authoritarianism as children, are considerably more trusting of democratic institutions, contradicting predictions by culturalist early-life socialization arguments. The authors conclude that low trust per se is not the major challenge for governance.

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Nathan J. Kelly and Jana Morgan Kelly. 2005. “Religion and Latino Partisanship in the United States.” Political Research Quarterly 58 (1): 87-95.  

Abstract: This article examines the interplay among religion, ethnicity, and the partisanship of Latinos in the U.S. Using pooled data from the 1990-2000 National Election Studies, we assess denominational affiliation and religious commitment as explanations of partisanship. We show that there is more religious diversity among Latinos than is usually acknowledged in studies of Latino politics and that the political importance of religion among Latinos has not been adequately assessed because variation beyond a Catholic/non-Catholic dichotomy has been ignored. We demonstrate that variation in Latino religious affiliation has important political implications.

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