Catherine E. De Vries (2022)
Accepted for publication in JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, forthcoming in 2023
Simone Cremaschi, Paula Rettl, Marco Cappelluti, Catherine E. De Vries (2022)
Electoral support for far-right parties is often linked to specific geographies of discontent. We argue that public service deprivation, defined as poor access to public services at the local level, helps explain these patterns in far-right support. Public service deprivation increases the appeal of far-right parties by making people more worried about immigration and increased competition for reduced public services. We examine our argument using three studies from Italy, a country home to some of the most electorally successful far-right parties in the past decades. We examine cross-sectional data from municipalities (study 1), exploit a national reform forcing municipalities below a certain population threshold to jointly share local public services (study 2), and explore geo-coded individual-level election survey data (study 3). Our findings suggest that public service deprivation helps us better understand geographical differences in far-right support and the mechanisms underlying it.
Catherine E. De Vries and Diana O'Brien (2022)
Why are women less politically involved than men? Scholars posit that gender (in)egalitarian attitudes are an important determinant of women’s engagement and participation. Yet, existing work finds only mixed support for this claim. Using the German General Social Survey (1991-2016), we examine the impact of gender egalitarian attitudes on political interest and involvement across birth cohorts from East and West Germany. We find that traditional gender attitudes are on average negatively correlated with political participation and engagement, especially among women. Women who hold gender egalitarian attitudes, in contrast, are nearly as involved in politics as their male counterparts. We then show that this finding holds when instrumenting for gender attitudes, and identify a possible individual-level mechanism underlying our findings: women’s access to education. Together, these results reveal an important barrier to gender equality and inform debates about the persistent gender gap in political involvement.
Paula Rettl, Simone Cremaschi, Catherine E. De Vries (2022)
This study examines how increased participation of women in the labor market affects egalitarian gender attitudes in society. We argue that increased female labor market participation might generate a anti-feminist backlash, because it triggers grievances for certain men and women. For men, increased female labor force participation intensifies competition in the labor market, especially among those who are already economically vulnerable (labor market competition channel). For women, increased female labor force participation might be also be threatening when they are not financially independent or married and thus worry about the employment of men in their household (household accounting channel). We test these conjectures in two studies. The first study uses European Social Survey data to show the relationship between increased labor market competition of women and more gender conservative attitudes. The second study outlines a survey experiment that aims to examine how be- ing primed about the female labor force participation triggers labor market competition fears among men and women who are not financially independent or married. We conclude that increased labor market competition of women generated a backlash in Europe, but that this is not only driven by a male backlash, but also by certain women.
Paula Rettl, Catherine E. De Vries and Francesco Billari (2022)
Across the globe, many societies are undergoing an unprecedented process of population ageing. While the share of working age people (20-64 year old) is shrinking, the share of elderly people (65 year old) is rapidly increasing. While age effects on preference formation and political behaviour are well documented, we know much less about the consequences of population ageing. We argue that while the potential for age-based polarization is generally muted due life cycle effects and family bonds, when societies age and resource competition between age groups increases, polarization between age groups is expected to increase. We examine our argument based on two studies. First, we examine existing cross-sectional survey data from over 20 European countries (study 1) to show that age-based polarization is correlated with population ageing. Second, we aim to gain causal leverage, and examine our proposed mechanism based on resource competition, using two novel survey experiments conducted during the first and second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (study 2). Overall, our evidence suggests that increased resource competition due to population ageing has the potential to increase age-based polarization in society.
Simone Cremaschi and Piero Stanig (2022)
Evidence shows that exposure to extreme weather events raises concern for climate change and increases pro-environment voting. But research also shows that exposure to natural disasters increases support for local incumbents who are able to successfully provide disaster relief. We examine the contrasting electoral effects of climate-related disruption by studying the aftermath of the 2018 Vaia storm in Northeast Italy, which destroyed about 42 million trees on an area of 41,000 hectares. Our causal identification exploits the stark variation in damage intensity between adjacent and closely similar municipalities. We measure exposure to the Vaia storm by combining satellite and georeferenced data on forest disruption, and blackout-related changes in nightlights intensity. We estimate its effect on voting behavior in the 2019 European elections within a difference-in-difference setting. We find that the storm significantly increased support for the local incumbent”the far-right League party in nine out of ten severely affected provinces”and did not generate positive electoral returns for pro-environment parties. Our findings temper the hypothesis that the increasing frequency of extreme weather events will increase support for policies aimed at reducing climate change.
The Political Legacies of Resistance: How Local Communities in Italy Keep Antifascist Sentiments Alive.
Simone Cremaschi, Juan Masullo J. (2022)
Do wartime experiences other than violence leave long-lasting political legacies? How are these legacies kept and sustained across generations and beyond those who directly experienced war? We explore these questions in Italy, a country whose democratic institutions were forged in the aftermath of a civil war fought between 1943 and 1945 by an armed resistance movement against Nazi and Fascist forces. We argue that the local presence and activity of resistance bands left anti-Nazi/Fascist legacies that shape political attitudes and behaviors today. Furthermore, we propose that these legacies are kept alive via a process of inter-generational, community-based transmission sustained on core mechanisms: (1) memorialization recomposes the resistance experience into a coherent narrative that legitimizes winners and condemns losers, (2) local anchors strengthen the narrative's local resonance and self-identification, and (3) local associational networks maintain and reinforce this narrative and build on it to mobilize community members. We empirically explore this argument by exploiting novel data from a recent nationwide, grassroots mobilization campaign – the "Anti-Fascist Law" – aimed at banning neo-fascist propaganda. We use an integrative multi-method research design that combines statistical analysis of all Italian municipalities to make sense of the campaign's spatial patterns, with a within-case analysis of a purposively selected locality to trace the process by which legacies are kept and transmitted across generations. Our study emphasizes armed resistance as a critical source of war's long-term political legacies and improves our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the collective transmission of political memories.
Self-built Segregation, Shelter Strategies, and the Immigrant Poor
Simone Cremaschi (2022)
How do the immigrant poor decide where to live? Sociologists have emphasized economic considerations to explain sorting between segregated and integrated neighborhoods. Drawing on 6 months of ethnographic fieldwork, 33 interviews, and 462 survey questionnaires collected in immigrant shantytowns in Italy, this article proposes that immigrants strategically choose between similarly marginal arrangements to maintain a positive sense of themselves. Most housing-insecure immigrants move between makeshift housing, acquaintances' houses, and public shelters in an effort to ensure future stability. Others withdraw into shantytowns for the long term, giving up hopes of inclusion and finding worth in their ability to survive without support. Building, following, and adapting "shelter strategies" allows immigrants to meet basic needs while maintaining their self-worth, but it also constrains their location choices, which helps explain how extreme socio-spatial segregation emerges and continues indefinitely.