American Politics & Public Policy Workshop: Presentations by Micah English and Moritz Bondeli

Event time: 
Wednesday, April 12, 2023 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies, Room A002 See map
77 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 


This convening of the American Politics and Public Policy Workshop will feature two presentations by Yale graduate students in political science, Natalie Hernadez and Nicholas Ottone.  This workshop is open to the Yale community only.  LINK TO SUBSCRIBE TO THIS WORKSHOP SERIES

Micah English: “Electoral Pessimism: Understanding the Causes, Consequences, and Mitigating the Effects”

Abstract: Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Black Americans have voted at consistently high rates, and have also constituted the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting block. But while Black voters have long expressed strong beliefs in both descriptive representation and voting as effective mechanisms for achieving racial justice/equality, recent data suggest that they are also becoming increasingly pessimistic about the efficacy of voting in federal elections as a means for achieving these goals, even as the number of Black elected officials has increased. This dissertation takes this puzzle as a point of departure from which to explore the structural roots and political consequences of what I call electoral pessimism. Bringing theories of political incorporation and electoral capture into conversation with insights from Black studies, electoral pessimism argues that the Democratic Party’s lack of action on racial justice alongside Black voters’ continued unwillingness to cast ballots for Republican candidates has led to a sense that voting is not a viable strategy to advance racial equality, leading some to opt-out of voting, to shift their energies to state and local politics, to join activist or community organizations, or to engage in protest instead.  In my presentation, I will outline this theory, provide an overview of the empirical strategies I will use to test it, and detail one of the projects through which I plan to do so.

Micah English is a third-year PhD student worker at Yale University in Political Science. Micah researches Black political behavior and social movements and their intersections with the politics of gender and sexuality. Micah currently serves as the graduate student representative on the APSA Sexuality & Politics research section.

Moritz Bondeli: “Threats of Violence and Political Selection: Experimental Evidence”

Abstract: What is the effect of violence directed at political elites on elite composition and behavior? I argue that violence against political elites has deeply problematic consequences for democratic life. At the extensive margin, violence reduces the number of citizens competing for office, polarizes the candidate pool, and pushes traditionally underrepresented and marginalized citizens out of politics. At the intensive margin, violence reduces politician engagement with citizens and degrades the political information environment. I propose to validate the extensive margin predictions of my theory using a behavioral information provision experiment. The intervention allows me to estimate the effect of changing beliefs regarding the risk of violence on political ambition. I expect my findings to improve scholarly understanding of (i) gender and racial disparities in political ambition, (ii) elite polarization and (iii) variation in the performance of legislative bodies.

Moritz Bondeli is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Yale. His dissertation examines how political violence affects the performance and stability of democratic institutions. Moritz holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Lausanne and an M.Phil. in European Politics and Society from the University of Oxford.

Open to: 
Yale Community Only