Research




Publications


[1]  Kuipers, Nicholas, Gareth Nellis, and Michael Weaver. “Does Electing Extremists Increase Violence and Intolerance?” (Accepted, The British Journal of Political Science).

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.

[2]  Kuipers, Nicholas. “The Effect of Electing Female Candidates on Attitudes Towards Intimate Partner Violence.” (Accepted, The Journal of Politics).

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.

Working Papers


[1]  Kuipers, Nicholas. “Does Religious Practice Increase Support for Democratic Norms? Evidence from North Africa.”

In Muslim societies, how does religious practice affect support for democratic norms? Looking at public opinion surveys conducted in North Africa in 2014 and 2015, I exploit a natural experiment in which the day of the week on which respondents are interviewed is decided as-if randomly. I find that respondents interviewed on Friday—the Muslim holy day—report greater tolerance towards non-Muslims, greater hope for the compatibility of Islam and democracy, and were more open to a greater role for religious leaders in political life. Drawing on qualitative evidence and text analysis, I attribute these findings to the heightened likelihood of exposure to religious sermons (khutbah) on Fridays. Taken together, these results speak to contemporary debates by suggesting that, in Muslim societies, support for democratic norms is highly sensitive to the short-term influence of religious leaders and sermons.

[2]  Kuipers, Nicholas. “The Long Run Consequences of The Opium Farms on Ethnic Animosity in Java.

Looking at the Dutch East Indies, I examine the consequences of the opium concession system (1809-1894)—an arrangement in which the Dutch would lease the monopolistic right to sell opium to the highest Chinese bidder. The poverty of the indigenous Javanese, combined with the addictive properties of opium, meant that many fell into destitution at the hands of Chinese vendors. I argue that this institution put in motion a self-reinforcing economic arrangement that enriched one group and embittered the other, with present-day consequences. Consistent with this theory, I find that individuals in villages where the opium concession system was operative during the nineteenth century—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.