Forthcoming. The Representational Consequences of Municipal Civil Service Reform (with A. Sahn). American Political Science Review. (paper)
A prominent argument holds that the chief aim of municipal civil service reform in the United States was to dislodge the overrepresentation of recent immigrants in city government. Using new data on all municipal employees from 1850–1940, and employing three research designs, we detect no evidence that the share of local government jobs held by foreign-born whites decreased following the introduction of reforms. Instead, we show that foreign-born whites—Irish immigrants in particular—experienced substantial gains in local government employment, concentrated in blue-collar occupations in small and medium sized municipalities. Our results call for a revisionist interpretation of Progressive Era reforms by questioning generalizations drawn from the experience of the largest cities in the United States. For most municipalities, instead, civil service reform in fact opened avenues to representation for members of foreign-born constituencies who had previously been locked out of government jobs.
Forthcoming. The Long-Run Consequences of The Opium Concessions for Outgroup Animosity on Java. World Politics. (paper) (replication file)
This article examines the consequences of the opium concession system in the Dutch East Indies—a nineteenth century institution by which the Dutch would auction off the monopolistic right to sell opium in a given locality. The winners of these auctions were invariably ethnic Chinese . The poverty of Java’s indigenous population, combined with opium’s addictive properties, meant that many individuals fell into destitution. The author argues that this institution put in motion a self-reinforcing arrangement that enriched one group and embittered the other, with consequences that persist to the present day. Consistent with this theory, the author finds that individuals living today in villages where the opium concession system operated—compared to individuals in nearby unexposed counterfactual villages—report higher levels of outgroup intolerance. These findings improve our understanding of the historical conditions that structure antagonisms between competing groups.
2021. Does Electing Extremists Increase Violence and Intolerance? (with G. Nellis and M. Weaver). British Journal of Political Science. (paper) (replication file) (analysis plan) (blog)
We estimate the effect of incumbency by Islamist parties on the incidence of religious violence and intolerance in Indonesia, exploiting discontinuities in the proportional representation system used to allocate seats in district legislative elections—the most local tier of parliamentary government. We find that the presence of additional Islamist (as opposed to secular nationalist) legislators exacerbates religious conflict according to certain measures. There is no evidence that Islamist rule affects average attitudes toward religious minorities among majority-group survey respondents, although it does increase expressions of extreme intolerance. Social emboldening may underlie these effects, as Islamist incumbency appears to boost the perceived acceptability of holding intolerant worldviews. The results shed light on the consequences of having extremist parties gain a share in local power.
2021. Encouraging Indonesians to Pray from Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic (with S. Mujani and T. Pepinsky). The Journal of Experimental Political Science. (paper) (replication file) (analysis plan)
Despite the introduction of social restrictions designed to stem the spread of COVID-19, many Indonesians have continued to attend places of worship. This poses a major public health threat, as congregational prayer involves large numbers of worshippers gathering under conditions known to enable the spread of the virus. Using a nationally representative survey, we evaluated the efficacy of messages delivered from different authorities in encouraging Indonesians to worship at home. We find no consistent evidence that public health messages change Indonesians’ attitudes toward communal prayer or their willingness to forgo communal prayer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, however, looking at well-defined subpopulations--non-Muslims and supporters of the president--we find suggestive evidence that messages were effective in increasing the likelihood of individuals to indicate a willingness to forgo communal prayer in the forthcoming week. Our results suggest that public health officials should eschew blanket messaging strategies in favor of more targeted approaches.
2020. The Effect of Electing Female Candidates on Attitudes Towards Intimate Partner Violence. The Journal of Politics. (paper) (replication file)
2020. Who Believed Misinformation During The 2019 Indonesian Election? (with S. Mujani). Asian Survey. (paper) (erratum)
We present findings from eight nationally representative surveys conducted during the 2019 Indonesian presidential election, in which we measured voters' reported belief in prominent pieces of misinformation. We document that younger, better educated, and wealthier voters were more likely to believe misinformation. These results are true for reported levels of belief in misinformation that targeted both the incumbent (Joko Widodo) and the challenger (Prabowo Subianto). These results represent a significant departure from findings in Western Europe and North America, where a surge in misinformation has disproportionately targeted older and less educated voters.
unpublished papers & in progress
Failing The Test: The Countervailing Attitudinal Effects of Civil Service Examinations.
The Indigenous Civil Service in Late Colonial Indonesia: Insights from a New Dataset.
City Size and Public Service Access: Evidence From Brazil and Indonesia (with A. Post).
The Indonesian Public Sector Wage Premium.
Examination Failure and Political Resentment in South Korea (with S. Sun You).
[work in progress]
Gender and the Indian Administrative Service (with T. Barnes, J. Bussell, and B. Purohit).
[work in progress]
Does Religious Practice Increase Support for Democratic Norms? Evidence from North Africa.