Kuipers, Nicholas, Gareth Nellis, and Michael Weaver. “Does Electing Extremists Increase Violence and Intolerance?” The British Journal of Political Science. 2019.
[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.
Kuipers, Nicholas. “The Effect of Electing Female Candidates on Attitudes Towards Intimate Partner Violence.” The Journal of Politics. 2020.
[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.
Kuipers, Nicholas, Saiful Mujani, and Thomas Pepinsky. “Encouraging Indonesians to Pray from Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The Journal of Experimental Political Science. 2020.
[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.
Mujani, Saiful and Nicholas Kuipers. “Who Believed Misinformation During The 2019 Indonesian Election?” Asian Survey. Forthcoming.
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.
︎Works in progress
Kuipers, Nicholas. “ The Indigenous Civil Service in Late Colonial Indonesia: Insights from a New Dataset.”
I present evidence from a newly-collected panel dataset on the indigenous civil service (pangreh pradja) in the Dutch East Indies between 1882–1942. Earlier scholarship has argued that the circulation of bureaucrats in late colonial Indonesia was extensive, and that this process was influential in spurring inter-ethnic contact and, in turn, Indonesian nationalism. Looking at Java, I find strong evidence against this claim: the circulation of indigenous civil servants was rare and, when it did occur, almost never crossed salient ethnic boundaries. Instead, I argue that patterns of aristocratic bureaucratic recruitment amounted to ethnic self-rule. I present partial and circumstantial evidence that this arrangement was still influential in enabling Indonesian nationalism, however, as lesser elites and mass publics from different ethnic groups made common cause of resenting their respective and co-opted aristocratic elite to form cross-cutting identic commitments.
Kuipers, Nicholas and Alexander Sahn. “The Representational Consequences of Municipal Civil Service Reform.”
A prominent argument holds that the chief aim of municipal civil service reform during the Progressive Era was to dislodge the overrepresentation of recent immigrants in city government. Using new data on all municipal government employees from 1850-1940 matched with the timing of civil service reforms, we demonstrate that (1) recent immigrants tended to be underrepresented in municipal government in all but the largest cities prior to civil service reforms and that (2) the share of local government jobs held by recent immigrants actually increased following the introduction of reforms. We present a revisionist argument in which we show that the influence of machine politics in securing municipal employment for marginalized groups has been overstated in the literature, and that civil service reform in fact opened avenues to representation for members of foreign-born constituencies who had previously been locked out of government jobs.
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.