April 2021

More Good News for the Democratic Potential of Local Government

April 27, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Benjamin Egerod (Copenhagen Business School) and Martin Vinæs Larsen (Aarhus University) | Can citizens make an impact on local policy by changing whom they vote for in local elections? In a new study of local governments in Denmark spanning 35 years, we find that voters’ electoral input has a sizeable effect on what policies local governments’ pursue. Our findings, together with a number of other recent studies from the United States, upends the conventional wisdom that local government is unresponsive to citizen demands. Read More

Voting in a Pandemic: COVID-19 and Primary Turnout in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

April 14, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Kevin Morris and Peter Miller | The year of 2020 was one marked by disruption and upheaval as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States proceeded with scheduled elections during the pandemic, forcing voters to reconsider whether and how they would be involved in the contests. We take advantage of a natural experiment to assess how COVID and the substantial reduction in polling places affected turnout in Milwaukee during the April presidential primary election relative to a set of voters largely unaffected by closed polling places. Unlike previous cases of polling place consolidation in the literature, the episode in Milwaukee was brought about by a natural disaster at the last minute before an election rather than an administrative decision made well in advance of election day. Read More

The Multiple Political Orders That Drive Urban Political Development

April 13, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Timothy Weaver (University at Albany, SUNY) | In recent years, scholars and pundits alike have proclaimed the emergence of an urban-rural divide that now marks “America’s political faultline.” With this observation comes the apparently uncontroversial argument that, over the course of the past few decades, cities have become increasingly liberal in contrast to the deepening conservatism in the countryside. This observation seems to be confirmed by Chris Tausanovitch and Christopher Warshaw who developed a ranking of American cities according to the policy preferences of their residents. They find that almost all cities over 250,000 are on the liberal side of the liberal-conservative spectrum, with San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, Detroit, and New York City all being among the top ten “most liberal” cities in the U.S. In a related move, Clarence Stone has recently argued that the developmental “urban regimes” he famously wrote about in the 1980s, have been replaced by an “urban governing order” in which the distribution of power “more fluid.” This opens to door for new actors—potentially from historically marginalized populations—to push for more progressive policies. Read More