published papers

Does Electing Extremists Increase Violence and Intolerance? (with G. Nellis and M. Weaver), British Journal of Political Science (2021).

[full paper] [replication file][analysis plan] [blog summary]
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.

The Effect of Electing Female Candidates on Attitudes Towards Intimate Partner Violence, The Journal of Politics (2020).

[full paper] [replication file]
What can be done to encourage people to condemn intimate partner violence? Looking at Indonesia, I combine electoral data with a large scale health survey and find that the narrow victory of a female candidate—as opposed to a male candidate—in local council elections leads to a significant decrease in the share of female constituents who agree that a husband is justified in assaulting his wife. I observe similar results for male constituents, although some estimates are not statistically significant. These results improve our understanding of the role of descriptive representation as a cause, rather than simply a consequence, of changing attitudes.

Who Believed Misinformation During The 2019 Indonesian Election? (with S. Mujani). Asian Survey (2020).

[full paper] [online appendix]
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.

Encouraging Indonesians to Pray From Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic (with S. Mujani and T. Pepinsky). The Journal of Experimental Political Science (2021).

[full 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.