Marc L. Hutchison
| Department of Political Science | Research Page
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Abstract: How do persistent terrorist attacks influence political tolerance, a willingness to extend basic liberties to one’s enemies? Studies in the U.S. and elsewhere have produced a number of valuable insights into how citizens respond to singular, massive attacks like 9/11. But they are less useful for evaluating how chronic and persistent terrorist attacks erode support for democratic values over the long haul. Our study focuses on political tolerance levels in Israel across a turbulent thirty-year period, from 1980 to 2011, which allows us to distinguish the short-term impact of hundreds of terrorist attacks from the long-term influence of democratic longevity on political tolerance. We find that the corrosive influence of terrorism on political tolerance is much more powerful among Israelis who identify with the Right, who have also become much more sensitive to terrorism over time. We discuss the implications of our findings for other democracies under threat from terrorism.
Marc L. Hutchison and Kristin Johnson. Inclusive Institutions and State Development in Africa: The Positive Effects of Political Reach on Social Trust.
Abstract: Few, if any, studies have empirically assessed the influence of incipient institutions on individual social trust in Africa. We argue that the political reach of a government (i.e. the extent of regulated and formal transactions) positively influences the degree of individual social trust throughout a society. Drawing from 25 Afrobarometer surveys across 17 different countries and 35,097 individuals, we estimate the effect of state-level indicators on individual attitudes using multilevel modeling techniques. Our results show that higher levels of political reach are associated with increased social trust. Further analysis reveals a stronger effect of political reach on social trust in post-conflict societies. These findings have significant implications for state building strategies focused on increasing social cohesion.
Marc L. Hutchison and Kristin Johnson. Political Reach, Violence, and Individual Political Participation in Africa, 2000-2008.
Abstract: New attention has been focused on the influence of the government reach and violence on political participation in Africa following the 2011 “African Spring” occurring in a number of Northern African countries. Studies of political reach, described as the relevance of government in daily life, often focus on country or populations. However, reach of a government is difficult to operationalize and historically struggles from a lack of comparability across populations. We utilize a new non-normative and comparative measure of government influence (Johnson, Arbetman and Swaminathan 2011), Relative Political Reach, to examine the influence of political reach and violence on individual-level political participation. While some tests of this relationship exist in the literature, much of the work fails to integrate micro- and macro-level factors. By drawing from 64 Afrobarometer surveys collected from 16 different countries from 2000 to 2008 and using Hierarchical Linear Modeling to estimate the effects of temporal-specific, state-level variables on levels of individual political participation, our approach avoids many of these deficiencies. We find that high levels of political reach are associated with increased levels of individual political participation across African countries. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this effect of political reach exists independent of political violence.
Marc L. Hutchison and Kristin Johnson. Not In My Backyard: The Negative Influence of Neighboring Conflict on Democratic Attitudes and Behavior.
Abstract: Civil conflict studies often point out the externalities imposed upon neighboring countries and societies, such as refugees, transnational insurgencies, repression, and increased interstate conflict. While much of this research concentrates on how this spillover influences subsequent state behavior, less attention is given to how it may contribute to shifts in individual behavior and attitudes. Concurrently, the struggles of democracies in Africa are well documented but with insufficient explanations as to the micro-level factors influencing democratic decline. We believe the externalities of neighboring conflict and democratic instability are linked. Here we argue that the threat and externalities resulting from neighboring conflict adversely affects key democratic behavior and attitudes, particularly those related to social capital. Drawing on 44 Afrobarometer surveys from 1999 to 2006, we examine the influence of neighboring conflict and refugees on individual non-voting political participation and social trust using multilevel statistical techniques. Our results indicate that neighboring conflict and refugees have varied effects on domestic societies. We observe that conflict and refugees are associated with lower levels of participation and social trust when evaluated independently. However, we find that refugees moderate the effect of neighboring conflict on individual participation and trust in different ways.
Marc L. Hutchison, Salvatore Schiano, and Jenifer Whitten-Woodring. The Fourth Estate vs. the Fifth Column: The Effect of Media Freedom and Social Tolerance on Domestic Conflict.
Abstract: Media freedom is typically viewed as crucial to both democracy and development. The idea is that independent news media will facilitate free and fair elections as well as shine a spotlight on corruption, thereby, improving both political competition and the business environment. Yet, political leaders often justify restricting media freedom on the grounds that irresponsible news coverage will incite political violence. Similar claims have echoed in Rwanda, Egypt, Venezuela, India and, more recently, in Hungary. So is media freedom a force for democracy or a source of domestic conflict? We hypothesize that the effect of media freedom on the likelihood of domestic conflict is conditioned in part by a country’s level of social tolerance. Specifically, we predict when social tolerance is high, media freedom will discourage domestic conflict because the tone of news coverage will tend to mirror the level of tolerance in society and ameliorate any inflammatory coverage. In contrast, we predict that low levels of social tolerance will fuel and be fueled by inflammatory news coverage if the media are free, and that this combination will promote domestic conflict. We test our hypotheses across countries and over time drawing from World Values Survey, Afrobarometer, and Global Media Freedom data.
Marc L. Hutchison and Ping Xu. Trust in China? The Impact of Economic Progress and Political Violence on Political Trust across China's Provinces, 2001-2012.
Abstract: China has long represented a puzzle for scholars of democracy, who view political trust as an important indicator of regime legitimacy. Previous studies show that while democracies around the world experienced declining levels of political trust, the authoritarian Chinese government maintained unexpectedly high levels of trust. Departing from previous research, we demonstrate substantial regional variation of political trust in China, which we argue have concealed important explanations for political trust in the Chinese context. Using World Value Survey (WVS) data over a critical twelve-year period (2001-2012) and multilevel modeling techniques, we explore both macro- and individual-level determinants of political trust in China. We find that individuals residing in wealthier provinces, provinces with little recent political violence, lower levels of inequality, and a less open regional economy are more trusting of government. Our study offers critical insights not only for political trust in China but also the country’s political future.
Marc L. Hutchison and Jenifer Whitten-Woodring. Threatening News: External Threats, Media Freedom, and Political Trust.
Abstract: Political trust is a complex individual attitude critical to state legitimacy and subject to a myriad of influences at both the micro and macro-level, including personal characteristics and orientations, government performance, economic conditions, institutional capacity, and threat environment. Recently, Hutchison (2011b) argued that, according to the logic of state development theories, salient external threats should serve to decrease political trust across society and observed that external territorial threats were strongly associated with lower trust levels across Africa. While salient threats to the state have long been linked to societal shifts in various political attitudes and behavior, the mechanisms by which certain external threats become salient to the general public is less understood. Here we argue that media freedom plays a critical role in shaping where and how certain external threats reverberate to the public shaping individual attitudes and behavior, including, most importantly, trust in government. We test our hypotheses by drawing from surveys from the Afrobarometer project across 20 countries from 1999 to 2009 and using multilevel statistical estimations to assess the effects of temporal-specific external threats to the state in conjunction with media freedom on levels of individual trust.
Jieun Park and Marc L. Hutchison. Media Trust and Trust in Goverment across Asia, 2005-2012.
Abstract: Political trust is critical to governance. Higher levels of political trust lowers administration costs, raises political institutional reliability, and reflects greater regime legitimacy. Theoretically, democratic publics are often presumed to have greater levels of political trust than autocracies because of relatively higher standards of living and increased freedom of expression. Empirical studies, however, reveal that democratic citizenries, on average, are less trusting of government than those living under authoritarian regimes. Yet, few studies have attempted to reconcile this disconnect between theory and empirical data to explain these patterns. In this study, we address this disconnect by drawing from 20 Asian Barometer surveys across 12 countries from 2005 to 2012 to assess individual and state-level factors influencing individual political trust. We observe that regime types are an important state-level influence. We confirm that, similar to the previous empirical work, Asian democracies have lower level of political trust than autocracies. We also show that these differences in political trust is largely attributable to systematic differences in media trust as autocratic citizenries trust the media more than those in democracies. Our findings demonstrate that political trust in Asia is influenced by regime types, confidence in the media, and individuals’ political engagement.
2014. Marc L. Hutchison. Tolerating Threat? The Independent Effects of Civil Conflict on Domestic Political Tolerance. Journal of Conflict Resolution. 58(5):797-825. Paper.
2013. Douglas M. Gibler and Marc L. Hutchison. Territorial Issues, Audience Costs, and the Democratic Peace: The Importance of Issue Salience. Journal of Politics 75(4): 879-893. Paper.
2012. Douglas M. Gibler, Marc L. Hutchison, and Steve M. Miller. Individual Identity Attachments and International Conflict: The Importance of Territorial Threat. Comparative Political Studies 45(12): 1655-1683. Paper.
2012. Kristin Johnson and Marc L. Hutchison. Hybridity, Political Order, and Legitimacy: Examples from Nigeria. Journal of Peacebuilding and Development. Paper.
2011. Marc L. Hutchison and Kristin Johnson. Capacity to Trust? Political Capacity, Conflict, and Political Trust in Africa, 2000-2005. Journal of Peace Research. 48(6): 737-752. Paper.
2011. Marc L. Hutchison. Territorial Threat and the Decline of Political Trust in Africa: A Multilevel Analysis. Polity 43(4): 432-461. Paper.
2011. Marc L. Hutchison. Territorial Threat, Mobilization, and Political Participation in Africa. Conflict Management and Peace Science 28(3): 183-208. Paper.
2007. Marc L. Hutchison and Douglas M. Gibler. Political Tolerance and Territorial Threat: A Cross-National Study. Journal of Politics 69(1): 128-142. Paper.
2005. Douglas M. Gibler, Toby J. Rider, and Marc L. Hutchison. Taking Arms Against a Sea of Troubles: Conventional Arms Races During Periods of Rivalry. Journal of Peace Research 42(2): 131-147. Paper.